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LAPD officer who fatally shot 14-year-old girl along with assault suspect is identified

A police officer holds a rifle inside a clothing store
In an image from police body-camera video, LAPD Officer William Jones Jr. holds a rifle in a Burlington store just before opening fire on an assault suspect, killing him and a 14-year-old girl who was in an adjacent changing room.
(Los Angeles Police Department)

The Los Angeles police officer who killed an assault suspect and a 14-year-old bystander in a shooting at a Burlington store in North Hollywood on Dec. 23 was Officer William Dorsey Jones Jr., according to multiple sources.

The LAPD has withheld the officer’s name “pending department review processes,” despite having promised to be transparent about the incident and releasing video Monday in which Jones is not only visible but also referred to by his last name by other officers.

Jones could not be reached for comment. His attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

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In the video, which included surveillance footage, 911 recordings and video from body cameras worn by Jones and other officers, Jones can be seen pulling a rifle out of the back of his police vehicle and rushing into the Burlington store along with other officers.

One caller to 911 who identified herself as an employee had told a dispatcher that the suspect, later identified as Daniel Elena-Lopez, was assaulting customers with a bike lock in the store. Another caller told another dispatcher, incorrectly, that the suspect had a gun.

Elena-Lopez did not have a gun.

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.

According to the video, Jones reached the top of an escalator to the store’s second floor, where Elena-Lopez had just beaten a woman with the bike lock, and the officer then moved quickly with his rifle drawn to the front of a group of other officers armed with handguns and projectile weapons.

When Jones spotted the bloodied woman who had been beaten on the floor, he shouted, “She’s bleeding!” and rushed forward again as other officers told him to slow down.

Within seconds, Jones had reached the victim, turned to his right and fired three rounds at Elena-Lopez, who was moving away from Jones and the victim at the opposite end of a shopping aisle.

Jones killed Elena-Lopez in the shooting, but also 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta, who was hiding in a nearby dressing room with her mother when one of Jones’ rounds penetrated the dressing room wall and struck her.

The shooting immediately drew outrage and condemnation for the officers’ actions, particularly those of Jones — whom activists and independent journalists were quick to identify from the video. At a news conference held by Valentina’s family in front of police headquarters Wednesday, activists held up handmade “Wanted” posters with Jones’ picture and name, calling for him to be arrested and charged in the shooting.

Police have said the investigation into the shooting will be thorough, with investigators reviewing every action of each officer involved. The California Department of Justice is also conducting an independent investigation.

Jones appeared to be assigned to the North Hollywood station and was the founder in 2020 of a nonprofit organization called Officers for Change, which aimed to support city kids and bolster their relationship with police.

“Policing is more than Law Enforcement … Using our Sworn platform to Educate, Inspire, Mentor & Motivate,” the nonprofit’s website read before it was taken down after the shooting.

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

The nonprofit sought “to lead the community by giving to those in need, as well as providing support for our first responders,” the site read. “100% of your gifts & donations will help support causes for awareness, provide clothing, school supplies, food, athletic equipment and more to disadvantaged and at-risk youth.”

The page was still visible Wednesday via the Wayback Machine, an internet archive website.

The organization’s Facebook page was also taken down in the wake of the shooting, as was the official Twitter account of the North Hollywood police station. A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department said he did not know why that Twitter account was taken down.

Also taken down was what appeared to be Jones’ personal Twitter account, under the handle @LAPD_OfcrJones. A capture of that Twitter page from September 2020 showed Jones identified there as a North Hollywood community relations officer and youth program coordinator.


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