The family of a 14-year-old California girl who died after a stray bullet struck her in a Los Angeles Burlington Coat Factory dressing room during a police response to an active assault last year has filed a lawsuit against the retail chain, the city, the LAPD and one of its officers.
Police responded to reports of a man assaulting women with a deadly weapon inside the North Hollywood Burlington store on Dec. 23. A responding officer fired three shots and killed the suspect, 24-year-old Daniel Elena Lopez, of Los Angeles.
The girl, identified by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office as Valentina Orellana-Peralta, was pronounced dead at the scene after a bullet ricocheted off the floor, then ripped through the wall and struck her, authorities said.
She died in her mother’s arms, according to the lawsuit, reported by FOX Los Angeles.
The family alleges that the officer who fired the shots, William Dorsey Jones Jr., was inadequately trained and supervised — and that he allegedly recklessly discharged his rifle “without warning” at Lopez.
The LAPD in December released security video, bodycam footage and 911 calls pertaining to the incident.
The video shows Lopez rode into the store in a bicycle and was behaving erratically. An employee approached him, and he appeared to grow belligerent, smashing a computer and striking a glass railing before he appeared to attack several women.
Surveillance video shows him knocking one of them to the ground and beating her with a bike lock.
Officers arrived to find her in a puddle of blood on the floor. Her face and hands are also covered in red.
Prior to the shooting, another officer can be heard saying, “slow down” and “hold up Jones.”
Then the sound of three gunshots boom out. Police begin aiding the female assault victim, who was hospitalized after the attack. The suspect died of his injuries, and police found the bike lock next to him on the floor where he fell.
At the time of the shooting, Lopez was no longer actively assaulting the victim, according to the lawsuit, which also alleges that the officers “delayed obtaining any medical assistance for either” Orellana-Peralta or her mother, Soledad Peralta.
“Instead, as Valentina Orellana-Peralta lay on the floor dying, several officers were seen walking into the dressing room, offering no aid, to see her body on the ground,” the civil complaint reads.
“During a search for additional suspects and victims, officers found the girl and discovered she had been struck by gunfire,” police said at the time. “She was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Orellana-Peralta’s family had left Chile to escape violence there and immigrated to the U.S., according to the FOX LA report.
“It is [her parents’] deepest hope that those responsible for her death will be held accountable and that changes will be made to LAPD policies, practices, and standards for using deadly force that will prevent yet another senseless tragedy at the hands of law enforcement,” the family’s attorney, Rahul Ravipudi, told the station.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.