Video from the deadly Los Angeles police shooting that killed an assault suspect and a 14-year-old bystander at a Burlington store on Thursday shows the suspect beating a woman with a bike lock before a group of officers finds him and one opens fire with a rifle.
“She’s bleeding! She’s bleeding!” the officer screams of the victim as she crawls out of an aisle of home goods.
“Hold up! Hold up!” screams another officer, just before the first fires three rounds at the suspect, who is standing at the opposite end of the aisle. Daniel Elena-Lopez, 24, crumples to the ground, where he would later be pronounced dead.
Elena-Lopez appeared to be moving away from the victim and the officer at the time of the shooting.
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.
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 from some of the officers’ tactics.
It provides the clearest picture to date of an incident 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, was becoming “more outgoing.”
“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.”
The shooting has drawn widespread condemnation and 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, which is 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.
The department still had not released the name of the officer who fired as of Monday.
This story will be updated.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.