The parents of a 14-year old girl killed by Los Angeles police last year said cops failed to render aid as their daughter laid on the floor dying from a gunshot wound in a Burlington store dressing room, according to a new lawsuit filed by the family .
Valentina Orellana Peralta’s parents also claim Burlington employees failed to alert people inside the North Hollywood, Calif. store on December 23 when Daniel Elena Lopez entered the building and started to act erratically and threaten shoppers.
The family is suing the LAPD, Burlington Stores, Inc. and others for wrongful death, negligence and infliction of emotional distress. In the suit, the family said LAPD officers failed their duties and were “poorly supervised” and “poorly trained.”
They also claimed the officers who responded to the scene have a “history of improper uses of force and improperly discharging their firearms” but were never disciplined, re-trained or removed from the department.
According to the LAPD, Lopez, 24, became violent and attacked several shoppers, including a woman he beat with a heavy-duty cable lock. In a graphic, 35-minute video of the incident released by LAPD, Lopez is seen dragging the bleeding woman in between aisles of clothes.
When police arrived at the store, body-camera footage showed LAPD Officer William Dorsey Jones, Jr., leading the charge and holding an AR-15 rifle while other cops were heard saying, “slow down.”
Officers saw the bleeding woman crawling and another officer yelled “Hold up! Hold up,” just before Jones fired three shots, according to the Associated Press. One of the bullets fired from Jones’ rifle pierced through the dressing room wall.
Blood-curdling screams could be then heard from inside the dressing room where Valentina and her mother, Soledad Peralta, were hiding, according to the video footage.
“Despite there being no question at this point that store patrons were in danger, Defendant Burlington employees failed to use the store intercom or otherwise to advise store patrons or warn the customers in the back of the store of the developing situation,” the suit says .
“Officers of the Los Angeles Police Department, including Defendant William Dorsey Jones Jr., entered the store and, despite knowing that the store had not been evacuated and that civilians were still inside, recklessly discharged a department-issued firearm, a high-powered AR-15 assault rifle, without warning at Daniel Elena Lopez, who was neither armed with a firearm nor in the act of inflicting physical injury upon anyone,” according to the suit.
They added, “After the shooting, the officers delayed obtaining any medical assistance for either Decedent Valentina Orellana Peralta or Plaintiff Soledad Peralta, which was corroborated by witnesses reported that the defendant officers failed to request immediate medical assistance or take necessary life-saving measures. ”
According to a coroner’s report, the bullet entered through the left side of Valentina’s chest and passed through her diaphragm, spleen, left lung, aorta and right lung. Her death of her was ruled a homicide.
Lopez also died at the scene from a gunshot wound to the chest, LAPD officials said. The coroner’s report showed he had methamphetamine in his system.
In a statement, the family’s attorney, Rahul Ravipudi, said the lawsuit is the first step to obtain all the information surrounding Valentina’s tragic death.
“Filing this lawsuit is the first step for Soledad and Juan Pablo in seeking the transparency and justice promised to them by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti following the fatal shooting of their daughter, Valentina,” Ravipudi said.
“It is their 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.”
LAPD officials reached by The Post on Tuesday declined to comment on the lawsuit.
“The Department does not comment on pending litigation,” said LAPD spokesman Officer Drake Madison.
Burlington Stores officials also declined to comment on the suit.
“While we are unable to comment on the pending litigation, our customers’ safety and well-being is of paramount importance to us,” Jenn Glassey, spokesperson for Burlington Stores, Inc., told The Post.
The LAPD and the California Department of Justice are investigating the shooting, according to the Associated Press.
During a press conference in December, Valentina’s father, Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas, said his daughter was trying on dresses for Christmas. The family had just arrived from their native Chile when the teen was killed.
“My daughter was special,” Larenas said. “She had dreams. And tragically, those dreams have been overshadowed by this nightmare that prevents me from sleeping at night.”