Video from fatal LAPD shooting at Burlington shows officer open fire over bloodied victim

The LAPD released video of the fatal police shooting inside a Burlington clothing store last week that left a suspect and a 14-year-old girl dead.


Video from the Los Angeles police shooting that killed an assault suspect and a 14-year-old bystander at a Burlington store on Thursday shows an officer opening fire over a bloodied victim on the floor as the suspect was moving away from them at the opposite end of a shopping aisle.

The shooting — three rifle rounds in a matter of seconds — occurred after the suspect had beaten the woman with a bike lock, the video showed, and after the officer had rushed past some of his colleagues who were urging him to slow down.

“She’s bleeding! She’s bleeding!” the officer screamed as the victim crawled out of an aisle of home goods.


“Hold up! Hold up!” screamed another officer, just before the shots rang out.

Daniel Elena-Lopez, 24, crumpled to the ground, where he would later be pronounced dead. Almost immediately, another woman’s screams can be heard coming from an adjacent changing area — where 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta had been trying on dresses with her mother.

Valentina had also been struck by one of the officer’s rounds, after it bounced off the ground and went through a wall separating the changing area from the shopping floor, police said.

Police are trained to kill or arrest any shooters before taking other actions, including helping victims. But that approach can have serious drawbacks.

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The department had not released the name of the officer who fired as of Monday.

The video — a combination of 911 calls, store surveillance footage and officers’ body-camera video — was released by LAPD on Monday as part of an effort to be transparent about the tragic case, which sparked outrage and condemnation over some of the officers’ tactics.

It provides the clearest picture to date of a shooting that has attracted international attention, including in Valentina’s native Chile, where an aunt said the family is devastated.

Carolina Peralta said Valentina had been a shy girl in Chile, but that “everything was turning out well for her in the U.S.,” where she had reconnected with family, including her beloved older sister, and was becoming “more outgoing.”

The aunt of Valentina Orellana-Peralta, who was fatally shot by the LAPD, said the 14-year-old ‘was catching up with English and being more outgoing.’

Dec. 27, 2021

“Valentina died in the arms of her mother, inside the dressing room,” her aunt said. “My sister does not understand how this tragedy could have happened just when they had managed to reunite the family.”

Valentina Orellana-Peralta was killed by police when they opened fire on an assault suspect in a North Hollywood store.
Valentina Orellana-Peralta was killed by Los Angeles police when they opened fire on a suspect who was allegedly assaulting someone in a North Hollywood clothing store on Dec. 23.
(Carolina Peralta)

The shooting has renewed questions about police tactics in confronting armed individuals in the community. Some say police must be able to confront and stop criminals from attacking innocent victims, while others question officers’ reflexive reliance on their own weapons to do so — even when the suspects don’t have firearms.

Either way, the video lays bare a raw and sadly rational fear of casual shoppers and well-trained police officers across America: that at any moment, a retail store — like a school, a church or any other space — can suddenly become the target of a bloody attack.

Elena-Lopez had no gun, but the fear that he did — as articulated in some of the 911 calls — helped shape the police response and, ultimately, the tragic outcome.

According to LAPD policy, officers arriving at potential active-shooter scenes “must assess the situation objectively, evaluate their options and act accordingly,” with the primary objective of stopping “aggressive deadly behavior.”

A 2003 training bulletin shared by the department said that officers “shall not fire under conditions that would subject bystanders or hostages to death or possible injury, except to preserve life or prevent serious bodily injury.”

Calls to 911 released Monday showed that employees and others at the store in the 12100 block of Victory Boulevard were terrified of Elena-Lopez, urgently wanted police to respond, and had provided mixed information about whether he was armed with a gun.


“I have a hostile customer in my store ... attacking customers!” one employee said to a 911 dispatcher, before a loud smash is heard.

When the dispatcher asked if the man had any weapons, the employee said he was “using one of those bike locks” but did not have a gun or knife.

Another caller, however, said he did have a gun.

“There’s a guy with a gun,” that caller told a dispatcher.

When that dispatcher asked about the suspect’s race, the caller said, “We don’t know, Miss. It’s just shots.”

“So he shot the gun?” the dispatcher said.

“Yes,” the caller said.

Dispatchers reported an assault with a deadly weapon to officers, but also a shooting, the calls showed. Officers were also told that there were other shoppers “sheltering in place” inside the store, police said.

Store surveillance video showed Elena-Lopez assault multiple people before police arrived, striking an employee and tackling a customer at the bottom of an escalator. He was acting erratically, dragging a bicycle around the store and swinging the bike lock on the end of a chain, unnerving many and causing store leaders to begin evacuating the building.

Just before he was shot, Elena-Lopez had violently attacked the woman in the home goods section, grabbing her as she walked down an aisle and then repeatedly beating her with the bike lock and dragging her along the floor, her blood smearing across the tiles.


In the aftermath of the tragic shooting in North Hollywood, residents and others express their grief and outrage.

Dec. 24, 2021

Valentina is not visible in any of the video — her mother’s screams the only evidence in the video of her presence and the horror playing out on the other side of the wall from where Elena-Lopez fell.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore has called Valentina’s shooting a tragedy, and tried to assure the public that the department’s investigation would be thorough, with detailed analysis of each action that was taken by the responding officers. The California Department of Justice is also conducting an independent investigation.

Valentina’s family, meanwhile, has hired Benjamin Crump, a high-profile attorney who has sued police in excessive force cases nationwide and represented the family of George Floyd after his killing by Minneapolis police in 2020 — an incident that galvanized protests around the world.

Crump’s law firm on Monday said the girl’s parents would speak about the shooting at a news conference in L.A. on Tuesday.

Valentina was born and raised in the working-class neighborhood of Macul in Santiago, Chile’s capital, her aunt said in an interview with The Times in that country. Her father, Juan Pablo Orellana, was a bank clerk, her aunt said.

Carolina Peralta said her sister Soledad Peralta and Valentina had decided to reunite the family in the U.S. They were working on documentation to stay in the country permanently.


Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León viewed the video footage and described it as “horrible” and “blood-chilling.”

He credited the LAPD with releasing the footage but added that a full investigation needs to be conducted.

“At the end of it, someone needs to be held accountable for the death of this child,” said De León, whose 14th Council District includes heavily Latino neighborhoods on the city’s Eastside. “It’s just horrific for her family.”

As a parent, he said, the footage of the shooting and hearing the screams of the mother were difficult to bear.

“My stomach just turned,” he said. “The death of Valentina Orellana-Peralta is a living nightmare, a tragedy no parent should have to experience.”

Poblete, a special correspondent, reported from Santiago, Chile.