LOS ANGELES – The parents of a 14-year-old girl who was hit by a stray police LAPD bullet inside a North Hollywood clothing store in 2021 filed new court papers seeking the personnel records of the officer who fired the weapon as well as investigative reports and camera video.
The city Police Commission previously ruled that Officer William Dorsey Jones violated policy in the Dec. 23, 2021, shooting at the Burlington store. According to the commission, Jones’ first rifle shot at suspect Daniel Elena Lopez, who was attacking a woman inside the Burlington store on Victory Boulevard, was within the department’s policy regarding the use of deadly force.
But the panel found that Jones’ second and third shots were out of policy. One of those bullets skipped off the floor and passed through a wall, killing Valentina Orellana-Peralta, a 14-year-old freshman at High Tech Los Angeles Charter School. She was hiding in a dressing room during the police activity.
The suspect was also killed in the shooting.
In their suit filed July 14 in Los Angeles Superior Court, the girl’s parents — Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas and Soledad Peralta — allege that the city and Dorsey were negligent. On Tuesday, the plaintiffs’ lawyers filed additional court papers asking for such information as body-worn and in-vehicle camera video, witness statements, the police report and investigation, and photographs leading up to the incident as well as the shooting itself.
The motion also seeks all documents relating to DNA found at the store, autopsy reports and photographs regarding the girl, and correspondence from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office relating to the shooting, as well as information regarding Jones’ hiring, training, complaints, and responsibilities. The city has declined to turn over any of the requested information on grounds that it is privileged, according to the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ court papers.
“The fact that plaintiffs cannot obtain this information elsewhere is critical,” the family attorneys state in their court papers.
A hearing on the request for documents is scheduled for Jan. 24 before Judge Daniel M. Crowley.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore and a majority of the Use of Force Review Board members found that “Officer Jones inaccurately assessed the imminence of the threat of death or serious bodily injury Elena Lopez posed” when he fired all three rounds in an instant.
Moore, who in his own earlier ruling found that all three of Jones’ shots were outside LAPD guidelines, also said Jones, who told LAPD detectives that he believed the incident was an active shooter, should have been able to ascertain once he got to the scene that he was not dealing with a shooting.
Orellana-Peralta’s shooting led to protests in the weeks following the shootings.
Jones could face discipline or firing based on the rulings from Moore and the commission. LAPD’s Board of Rights will make the final decision and Jones can appeal any ruling to the board.