LOS ANGELES — A woman clutched at her bloodied face in an aisle splotched with red as she scrambled away from a man who had been pummeling her with a bike lock. A frightened employee at the Burlington clothing store told Los Angeles police officers that a man was “going crazy” in the store.
“I have a hostile customer in my store attacking customers!” she told dispatchers in a 911 call. “He’s walking around the store looking for people.” Someone else called in a report of “a guy with a gun.”
A scrum of officers mounted the escalators in a diamond formation, weapons drawn. Within moments of spotting the man, later identified as Daniel Elena Lopez, 24, at least one officer opened fire.
As Mr. Elena Lopez lay wounded on the ground, a woman’s anguished wails could be heard. They seemed to be coming from the dressing rooms nearby, where 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta had been with her mother. In what the police now say was a tragic accident, she too had been fatally shot by an officer’s bullet.
newly released footage from surveillance and police body cameras of the episode on Thursday that left both Mr. Elena Lopez and Ms. Orellana-Peralta dead.
The 35-minute compilation shed new light on the city’s latest high-profile police shooting, which has reignited an intense debate in Los Angeles over the role police should play in keeping communities safe.
This year, Los Angeles Police Department officers have fatally shot 18 people, The Los Angeles Times has reported, more than twice the number who were shot and killed by the department last year.
With the release of the video on Monday, Los Angeles police made it clear that it was one of their officer’s bullets that struck the 14-year-old girl in the dressing room.
“Preliminarily, it is believed the victim was struck by a round which skipped off the floor and entered the dressing room wall,” the video said. Mr. Elena Lopez did not have a gun in his possession, the police have said.
supported a $150 million cut to a $1.7 billion-plus police budget. Leaders of other cities, including the mayors of Oakland and San Francisco, made similar calls.
State officials also vowed to hold police officers accountable for misconduct. In July, a new state law took effect that requires the state’s Department of Justice to investigate police shootings that result in the death of unarmed people and decide whether to prosecute the officers involved. The department is investigating last week’s shooting in accordance with that law, officials announced.
But many efforts at reforming law enforcement practices have fizzled as leaders in Los Angeles and across California have scrambled to address fears of rising violent crime and anxiety provoked by a wave of high-profile “flash mob” robberies at high-end stores.