LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles police officer violated policy when he fired a rifle at a suspect inside a clothing store last year, killing a 14-year-old girl in a dressing room, a board of police ruled Tuesday. civilian supervision.
Officer William Dorsey Jones Jr. fired three shots as police responded to a Burlington clothing store in the San Fernando Valley where 24-year-old Daniel Elena Lopez had brutally attacked two women on December 23, 2021.
Valentina Orellana Peralta was shot to death while praying in a dressing room with her mother, Soledad Peralta. Jones also killed Elena Lopez.
The Police Commission ruled that Jones was justified in shooting once, but that his two subsequent shots were outside the policy.
Police Chief Michel Moore previously found in his own review that the three shots were not justified.
Now that both the chief and the civilian panel have failed, Moore could face disciplinary action or even be fired. However, he can appeal any decision to the LAPD Board of Rights.
An after-hours call to Jones’ attorney, Leslie Lee Wilcox, seeking comment was not immediately returned Tuesday.
Police were called to the store in North Hollywood following reports that a man was behaving erratically and was wielding a bike lock. He attacked two women, including one of her who fell to the ground before dragging her feet through the aisles of the store as she tried to escape from her.
After the 911 calls, Los Angeles police walked through the store in formation, body camera video shows. Brandishing a rifle, Officer Jones pushed to the front of the pack even as other officers repeatedly said “slow down” and “slow down.”
Officers saw a woman crawling across the blood-stained floor and Lopez across the hall, according to the video. “Hold! Hold!” another officer yelled just before Jones fired three shots.
Jones told the LAPD’s Use of Force Review Board that he believed someone inside the store was shooting at people, that he saw a bleeding victim, mistook the bike lock Lopez was holding for a gun, and that he thought that a wall behind Lopez was leaning against an exterior. brick wall that would block the officer’s shots. In fact, the area contained the women’s dressing rooms.
In his report to the Police Commission last month, Moore said the majority of the Use of Force Review Board concluded that Jones was “hyperfocused in his belief that this was an active shooter scenario and it is possible that did not make an objective evaluation when he arrived at the scene”.
The officer “incorrectly assessed the imminence of the threat of death or serious bodily injury” to Elena Lopez when she fired three rounds in rapid sequence and should have reassessed the situations after the first shot, the majority concluded.
One of the bullets tore through the wall of the dressing room, fatally striking the teen, whose mother “felt her daughter’s body go limp and watched helplessly as her daughter died while still in her arms,” according to a lawsuit filed by the family. .
The family’s lawsuit alleges that the LAPD failed to properly train and supervise responding officers and “fostered an environment that allowed and permitted this shooting to occur.”
Jones also killed Elena Lopez. An autopsy report showed that she was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of her death.