Los Angeles, CA — Last week, TFTP reported on the tragic incident in North Hollywood during which police responded to a deranged man attacking people with a bicycle lock. While killing the man from 20 feet away with an AR-15, one of the multiple rounds fired by the officer struck an innocent 14-year-old girl who was in the dressing room with her mother.
This week, police released the body camera and surveillance footage from the incident. It shows that officers had no reason to resort to deadly force and instead of bravely attempting to surround the man — who they had outnumbered at least 6 to 1 — and use tasers or batons, an officer decided to dangerously fire three rounds in a crowded Burlington outlet.
"We at the LAPD would like to express our most heartfelt condolences and profound regret for this innocent victim, Valentina Orianna-Peralta," the LAPD said in the newly released video. "There are no words to describe the depth of the sorrow we feel for this tragic outcome."
Orellana-Peralta, 14, was shopping with her mom at the Burlington in North Hollywood last Thursday when 24-year-old Daniel Elena-Lopez of Los Angeles began assaulting people at the store with a bicycle lock.
In the videos released Monday, Elena-Lopez can be seen grabbing and hitting multiple people on store surveillance, including dragging one person behind a counter.
When police arrived on the scene, they found one of the victims bleeding from her head with Elena-Lopez standing 20 feet away in his underwear. Though Elena-Lopez had assaulted several people, when officers arrived, he was not near anyone and was backed into a corner.
Instead of engaging him, attempting to surround him, or otherwise trying anything other than deadly force, the officer immediately opened fire in a crowded store, killing him and Orellana-Peralta.
On Monday, community activists were demanding answers about whether the officer could have deescalated the situation without using deadly force.
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"We’re particularly concerned of the repeated pattern of officer-involved shootings where it seems to be police officers have a practice of shoot first and ask questions later," Jose Barrera, the California director of League of United Latin American Citizens, said.
Indeed. Though police were told by a 911 caller that there might be a gun, when they arrived on the scene, people specifically pointed out to officers that it was a bike lock. This is why in the body camera footage, we can see the lead officer carrying a shotgun which fires less than lethal rubber bullets.
However, the cowboy officer with the rifle was apparently unconcerned about the facts and demanded to take the lead with deadly force. Had that decision not been made, Elena-Lopez would be in jail and Orellana-Peralta would be telling her family a crazy story over the holiday break.
Sadly, however, police decided to open fire in a crowded store and it did not unfold that way.
When pressed by reporters as to why the officer opened fire in a crowded store during the holidays, Chief Moore had a hard time explaining.
"We will do everything within our power to gather as much information, to gather interview accounts of everyone that was involved in this tragic event to understand what the actions of the suspect were inside the store prior to arrival, as well as what his actions were that led up to the moment in which an officer used his firearm and shot, resulting in the death of that suspect, that individual as well as unfortunately, this is an unintentional victim," Moore told FOX 11. "Our efforts are to not make judgment without all the facts, without information that allows us to understand the circumstances."
Moore continued, "And then look at our training, look at our policies, our expectations of our people and make them with all the information that is known and evaluation as to the act, the judgment, the officer, the actions, the officer and others took. And just in trying to understand how this all unfolded. I want to ask for the public's help [with] their patience. We do not want to rush to judgment, make some broad statement — in any fashion — that is not supported by facts and circumstances."
A GoFundMe page has been started to help the family with their expenses as they were travelling to the US on vacation from Chile.
Below is that video, warning it is graphic.