Los Angeles police will open an investigation after the death of Valentina Orellana-Peralt, killed by a stray bullet fired by a police officer.
A 14-year-old girl was killed in a changing room by a stray bullet fired by a police officer responding to an assault in the store, Los Angeles police said on Monday, who have opened an investigation and will release videos of the incident.
The tragedy took place on December 23 at a clothing store in North Hollywood, near Los Angeles, where police were called for an « armed robbery » in progress, according to the police statement.
Apologies to the family
Upon arrival, the police found a bleeding woman « suffering from various injuries » not far from a suspect. They opened fire on him, killing him on the spot.
« Unbeknownst to the police, a 14-year-old girl was in a dressing room on the other side of a wall directly behind the suspect » and it was only after the shooting that the officers discovered the teenager had been fatally shot. « According to the first elements of the investigation, it seems that the victim was struck by one of the bullets fired by a police officer at the suspect, » the statement said.
Valentina Orellana-Peralta was shopping with her mother for her fifteenth birthday, the « quinceanera, » a hugely important coming of age ceremony in Latin America and among some Hispanic communities in the United States.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore lamented « a chaotic incident that resulted in the death of an innocent child », apologized to the family and pledged to shed light « on them. circumstances which led to this tragedy « .
No firearms found on the suspect
As such, he asked that emergency calls, radio exchanges, images from on-board cameras and CCTV be made public on Monday.
According to local media reports, no firearms were found in the possession of the suspect, a 24-year-old man already on charges of domestic violence, who allegedly used a heavy metal padlock to strike his victim.
One of the main civil rights organizations for Hispanic Americans, Lulac, strongly criticized the conditions under which the police intervened on Monday.
« It is unacceptable that the Los Angeles police were able to open fire in a crowded store at the height of Christmas shopping without knowing for sure whether the suspect was armed, » reacted the president of Lulac, Domingo Garcia.