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Los Angeles police release videos from fatal shooting of 14-year-old girl who was in store dressing room

<i>Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images</i><br/>Flowers were left in memory of Valentina Orellana-Peralta
Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag
Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Flowers were left in memory of Valentina Orellana-Peralta

By Cheri Mossburg, Sarah Moon and Topher Gauk-Roger, CNN

Valentina Orellana-Peralta and her mother were holding one another and praying in the dressing room of a Los Angeles clothing store when a police officer’s bullet ripped through a wall and fatally wounded the 14-year-old, according to relatives.

“The girl’s American dream has been taken from her,” Valentina’s uncle, Rodrigo Orellana, told CNN affiliate Chilevision from their native Chile this week.

“Everyone fled to to dressing rooms and, unfortunately, the bullet found her,” he said. “They’re supposed to be the best police department in the world and they shot her.”

Orellana was referring to the the Los Angeles Police Department, which on Monday released edited surveillance camera footage and police body camera videos showing the events that led to the shooting death of the teen by an officer firing at a suspect last Thursday.

The video shows a 24-year-old suspect identified as Daniel Elena-Lopez entering the Burlington Coat Factory store in North Hollywood with his bike and wearing a tank top and shorts. He takes the escalator upstairs with his bike.

Moments later, he returns to the escalators wearing a multicolored jacket and long pants before swinging his bike lock at customers, according to police. He is seen attacking several female customers.

Several body camera videos released by police show a woman on the floor covered in blood as officers arrive and attempt to find the suspect, who, according to a police statement on Friday, was a short distance away.

An officer can be heard on the body camera footage firing three bullets toward the suspect, who later falls to the ground. Video shows the officer firing a rifle at the suspect.

Valentina was in a dressing room with her mother when a bullet aimed at the suspect passed through the wall, fatally striking the teenager. Valentina was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest, coroner records show.

Police Capt. Stacy Spell said the investigation in its early stages. The incident will also be reviewed by representatives from the California Department of Justice, the state Attorney General’s Office and the Office of the Inspector General, according to Spell.

Anthony Barksdale, a CNN law enforcement analyst and former Baltimore deputy police commissioner, said the video raises questions.

“Was the use of the patrol rifle justified?” he asked Monday night on CNN. “And … if you’re going to fire a (.223) round inside of a department store, those rounds can easily rip through a body and keep right on moving through dry wall. So the use of force must be looked at.”

Barksdale said that the suspect did not appear to be moving toward a victim or an officer when he was shot.

The police department released three 911 calls and radio transmissions of the shooting.

Police were called to the scene following numerous reports of an assault with a deadly weapon and a possible shooting in progress at the store.

One call is from a store employee who tells the operator that there’s an “hostile customer in my store attacking customers” and “breaking things.”

While she is on the phone with the operator, she is also repeatedly heard yelling at people to evacuate the store. She explains to the operator that the suspect is using a bike lock to attack people.

The suspect died at the scene. A steel or metal cable lock was found near his body, officials said. No firearm was recovered from the scene.

The assault victim was transported to a hospital with head and arm injuries. Police do not believe the woman knew the suspect.

An LAPD official familiar with the investigation told CNN’s Paul Vercammen they were “aware of reports that a witness said the girl was trying on a quinceañera dress with her mother. We are looking in to this as part of our investigation.”

The officer who fired the fatal shots is on “paid administrative leave, per department protocols for officer involved shootings, for at least two weeks,” the official told CNN.

Valentina’s parents are set to hold a news conference Tuesday demanding transparency from police, while their attorneys are expected to discuss developments in the case.

Valentina’s grandmother, Veronica Larenas, told Chilevision that the teen had been adapting well to life in the United States.

“She was learning English. She was happy. They loved her at school,” Larenas said.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Josh Campbell, Eric Levenson, Steve Almasy and Andy Rose contributed to this report.

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