Girl fatally shot through LA dressing room

The shooting took place at the Burlington store in North Hollywood. Photo: Getty Images
The shooting took place at the Burlington store in North Hollywood. Photo: Getty Images

The Los Angeles Police Department is expected to release video footage from the accidental shooting of a teenage girl killed in a clothing store when a bullet pierced the wall of her dressing room as officers opened fire on an assault suspect.

Police say the stray round that struck the 14-year-old girl, identified in local media accounts as Valentina Orellana-Peralta, apparently was fired inadvertently into the changing room by an LAPD officer on the other side of the wall.

At the time of the December 23 shooting, the girl was shopping with her mother for a dress for her upcoming quinceanera, a 15th birthday celebration in Hispanic traditions, Los Angeles news outlets reported.

LAPD officers dispatched to the store were responding to multiple radio calls of an assault with a deadly weapon and a possible shooting in progress, police said.

The assault suspect, who police said was attacking a woman on the upper floor of the clothing store when officers arrived, was also killed in the shooting, LAPD officials said.

The girl was discovered shot to death moments later, after officers noticed a bullet hole in the wall directly behind where the suspect had been standing and searched premises to find the 14-year-old in a dressing room on the other side of that wall, police said.

Assistant LAPD chief Dominic Choi told reporters in a briefing that day that investigators believe the girl had been struck by a round fired from the police officer's gun.

Choi said then that no firearm had been immediately recovered from the suspect, but police found a heavy cable lock that they believe the man was using to beat a woman in the store when police called to the scene confronted him.

The assistant chief said investigators would review footage of the incident captured by officers' body-worn video cameras and surveillance cameras in the store.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore issued a statement promising a "thorough, complete and transparent" investigation of the tragedy, and ordered "critical incident video," radio transmissions and other information from the shooting to be publicly released on Monday.

The California attorney general's office also was to open an independent investigation. 

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