The 14-year-old girl shot dead, likely by Los Angeles Police, as officers responded to reports of a shooting at a North Hollywood Burlington store has been identified by the medical examiner’s office -coroner of Los Angeles County.
Valentina Orellana-Peralta was shot as police opened fire on a man suspected of assaulting a woman in the department store in the 12100 block of Victory Boulevard. The man was identified by the coroner’s office on Friday as Daniel Elena Lopez, 24.
The girl was in a locker room with her mother when she was shot and killed, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a press release Friday, December 24. The locker room wall was directly behind the suspect and, according to the LAPD, it appears that she was shot by an officer.
Police found her while searching for other suspects and victims, the LAPD said.
“This chaotic incident resulting in the death of an innocent child is tragic and devastating for all involved,” Police Chief Michael Moore said in a statement. “I am deeply sorry for the loss of the life of this young girl and I know that there are no words that can ease the unimaginable pain for the family.”
911 calls, body-worn camera images and other evidence will be released by Monday, Moore said.
Officers had rushed into the area of Victory Boulevard and Laurel Canyon Boulevard around 11:45 a.m. after receiving reports of an ongoing shooting, Captain Stacy Spell said.
As police made their way to the store, he said, they received additional calls of an active shooter, with descriptions of people taking cover.
Upon arrival, according to the LAPD statement on Friday, they found a woman injured and bloody.
Nearby, officers encountered the suspect and opened fire.
An LAPD Family Liaison is working closely with the mayor’s Crisis Response Team and City Councilor Monica Rodriguez to provide assistance to the family of the 14-year-old, department officials said.
A Burlington spokesperson said the store remained closed on Friday, adding that “the heart of the business was heavy following the tragic incident.”
“Our top priority is always the safety and well-being of our customers and associates,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “This is an ongoing investigation and we support the authorities.”
The California Department of Justice will independently investigate and review the shooting, State Attorney General Rob Bonta has announced.
At least two Los Angeles mayoral candidates have commented on the shooting.
“As a father, my heart breaks for Valentina Orellana-Peralta,” City Councilor Kevin De Leon tweeted on Friday. “A girl from LA, killed by someone assigned to keep her safe.” When something like this happens, it’s up to us, as city leaders, to take ownership and responsibility for changing the course of history.
“We owe it to Valentina’s family to hear the results of city and state investigations, make the necessary changes and make sure we never lose another Angeleno this way.”
Representative Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, tweeted Thursday night: “It is an absolute tragedy that there is an empty seat at this 14-year-old’s family table in two days. Everyone in this city deserves to be safe.
“I am happy that there is an investigation and I await further information on what happened today.”
Editor-in-chief Scott Schwebke and City News Service contributed to this report.