Officers Begged Cop To 'Slow Down' Before He Shot 14-Year-Old Girl Inside Burlington Coat Factory Dressing Room

Photo: YouTube
body-cam footage officer begging cop

In body-cam footage released by the Los Angeles Police Department, officers can be heard urging their colleague to “slow down” multiple times before shooting 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta inside a Burlington Coat Factory dressing room.

The officers had been responding to reports of a man attacking shoppers with a bike lock at the Burlington Coat Factory in North Hollywood on December 23. 

Police also released the 911 calls, in which an employee said that Daniel Elena-Lopez, 24, was “breaking things” around the store, with another employee saying that a “hostile customer” was “going crazy.”

Body-cam footage shows police encountering the suspect when an officer fires three bullets at him from a distance.

One of the officer’s bullets struck Orellana-Peralta when it bounced off of the floor and into the dressing room where she was hiding with her mother.

Footage showed the officer approaching Elena-Lopez with a rifle while multiple officers behind him yelled for their colleague to “slow down.”

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The officer could be seen holding a rifle and walking to the front of a group of three other officers who all had their weapons down.

“Hey, slow down, slow down. Let me take the point with the rifle,” one of the officers said in the footage.

The officer with the rifle eventually got in front of the group and said, “He's hitting her on the right-hand side,” and ran ahead to a woman that was bleeding on the ground.

The three other officers can be heard yelling at the officer with the rifle to “slow it down, partner.”

“She’s bleeding,” the officer with the rifle had responded to his colleagues' warnings.

“Slow it down, Jones,” another said before the officer with the rifle fired three shots at Elena-Lopez, who fell to the ground and waved his arms.

Police say that the 14-year-old girl was struck by a stray bullet during that time while in the dressing room.

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According to USA Today, the LAPD confirmed that the officer has been placed on administrative leave, and has not been publicly identified.

The Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner ruled the girl’s death a homicide by a gunshot wound to the chest.

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It’s moments after the suspect was shot by the officer with the rifle that a woman’s muffled screams and cries can be heard from the dressing room.

Once the officers go into the dressing room area after hearing the sounds, the body-cam footage ends.

Police Chief Michael Moore promised a “thorough, complete, and transparent investigation” into the shooting.

The death of Valentina Orellana-Peralta has sparked outrage across the country.

Domingo García, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, released a statement saying, “It is indefensible that trained Los Angeles police officers could open fire in a crowded store at the height of Christmas shopping without first knowing for sure if the suspect was armed.”

LAPD killings have severely increased this year, with the police department fatally shooting 18 people in 2021 compared to seven in 2020, according to the LA Times.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.