The Los Angeles cop who accidentally shot dead a teenage girl at a Burlington store in Hollywood while trying to take down a suspect assaulting customers is reportedly ‘shattered’ by the incident.
William Dorsey Jones Jr, 42, had worked to build relationships between the police force and the community, founding the ‘Officers for Change’ at-risk youth profit, and sharing photos of him delivering gifts to children and coaching high school football teams.
But Jones, who has served in the LAPD for more than ten years, is now facing backlash for shooting 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta while she hid inside a dressing room with her mother on December 23, his lawyer confirmed to The New York Times. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
He is on administrative leave, and his lawyer, Leslie Wilcox, told the Mercury News: ‘This is something he says that he will be living with every day for the rest of his life. He is trying to figure out a process to keep moving forward when he knows her family can’t.
‘He’s just shattered,’ she said, adding that Jones ‘was acting the way he was trained to do’ and that it has ‘been hard for him to see it as it is being portrayed.’
William Dorsey Jones Jr, 42, has served in the LAPD for more than 10 year. His lawyer confirmed Jones is the officer who shot 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta, right, while she hid inside a dressing room with her mother on December 23
Orellana-Peralta was struck by a bullet that went through the drywall of the dressing room she was hiding inside as cops stormed a Burlington Coat Factory in North Hollywood to confront a man who was swinging a bike lock at women.
She was struck in the chest while shopping for a quinceñera dress just two days before Christmas.
The LAPD on Monday released a heavily edited package of surveillance and police body camera footage, which captured her final moments.
In bodycam video, armed officers enter the store and approach Daniel Elena-Lopez, 24, suspected of attacking two women.
One officer with a rifle pushes to the front of the pack as the cops go through the store in formation. Other officers repeat ‘slow down’ and ‘slow it down’ as the officer with the rifle moves forward.
‘She’s bleeding!’ an officer shouts when they find a victim of a brutal beating, crawling on the blood-stained floor. The suspect was on the other side of the aisle.
‘Hold up! Hold up, Jones! Hold up! Hold up! another officer screams just before three shots ring out.
The officer holding the rifle pulled the trigger, police said.
Elena-Lopez collapsed on the floor, mortally wounded. In the background of the footage, Valentina’s mother can be heard screaming in the dressing room beside her dying daughter.
Capt. Stacy Spell said Orellana-Peralta was ‘struck by a round which skipped off the floor and entered the dressing room wall.’
An attorney for the family, Rahul Ravipudi, said it was obvious from the video that the shooting was an unreasonable use of force and a breach of policy.
‘It’s heartbreaking,’ Ravipudi told the Mercury News. ‘It sounds likes [Jones] is certainly not taking accountability or responsibility.’
Body camera footage from the five officers closest to Jones, who fired three shots at Daniel Elena-Lopez, hitting Peralta in the process, were also shared in the LAPD press package
Pictured is Jones’ view of the suspect, Daniel Elena-Lopez, who had just beaten a bloodied, unidentified woman on the floor with a bike lock. Directly behind the suspect is the dressing room where Peralta and her mother were hiding as the chaos unfolded
Daniel Elena-Lopez, 24, can be seen laid out on the ground after he was shot by the Los Angeles Police Department officer. Behind him, Valentina Orellana Peralta, 14, was hiding in a dressing room with her mother
Valentina Orellana Peralta, 14, was shopping for a quinceñera gown with her mother at this Burlington store in North Hollywood on December 23 when she was struck by cop’s stray bullet
Witnesses had called 911 dispatchers and wrongly reported that Elena-Lopez was armed, which Tom Saggau, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Protective League – the union representing Jones – said impacted Jones’ response.
‘This is somebody who, four days ago, everybody in our country would be wanting to hire,’ he added.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said a ‘thorough, complete and transparent’ investigation was underway. The California Attorney General’s Office and California Department of Justice are conducting separate investigations that will determine Jones’ future in the force.
Jones reportedly opened the ‘Officers for change’ at-risk youth profit, and showcased in a since-removed website his community engagement
Records show Jones opened ‘Officers for Change’ as a ‘501(c)(3) nonprofit org. on a mission to positively impact the lives of those living in At-Risk & Low Income communities’ with a ‘Sworn platform to Educate, Inspire, Mentor & Motivate’
His social media posts show his support for both the Thin Blue Line and Black Lives Matter
Jones had served for 11 years with the LAPD as a community relations officer based in North Hollywood.
He grew up poor in the west end of Louisville, Kentucky, as his mother worked several jobs to keep he family housed and fed.
Jones moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to pursue a career and entertainment but became a cop instead. He seemingly found a sense of purpose in his career, pledging to serve as a mediator between communities of color and the police as a member of both groups.
On social media and his website, Jones repeatedly showed his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and pledged to be an advocate for change in the police department.
‘I’m a black man, I’m the father of a black son, I’ve been the vict[im] of racism,’ Jones reportedly wrote in a since-deleted Tweet. ‘I’m the LAPD. I have the power & determination to affect CHANGE in the community. I’m a proud member of the #thinblueline & #blacklivesmatter.’
Records show Jones also founded ‘Officers for Change’ as a ‘501(c)(3) nonprofit org. on a mission to positively impact the lives of those living in At-Risk & Low Income communities’ with a ‘Sworn platform to Educate, Inspire, Mentor & Motivate.’
‘There’s no better crime reduction strategy than to engage with our youth, for them not to be scared of us, to let them know there are people out there who care,’ Jones said in 2019 to a local news station.
‘Being an African American police officer and from Louisville has given me a very unique perspective,’ Jones was quoted saying in a 2020 article on the website of his alma mater, the University of Louisville.
The veteran cop had also started an apparel line in 2019 called ‘Use of Force Fitness,’ but closed it amid rising tensions between police and communities of color in 2020.
Soledad Peralta and Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas, the parents of Valentina Orellana-Peralta, 14, choked back tears at a press conference outside the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters on Tuesday
Soledad Peralta said Valentina, 14, died in her arms, and there was nothing she could do for her daughter after she was shot by a police officer’s stray bullet
Valentina’s father told reporters his daughter believed the US was the safest country in the world, and her greatest wish was to become an American citizen
The girl’s family said they had left their native Chile to get away from violence and injustice in search of a better life in the US. The father said he was in Chile for the holidays when his wife called him, telling him their daughter had been killed, adding in Spanish: ‘My world collapsed on me.’
On Tuesday, Valentina’s inconsolable parents stood outside the LAPD headquarters on and demanded justice for their daughter.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump joined the parents and read a translated statement written by Valentina’s mother, who revealed that she and her daughter were hugging each other and praying inside the dressing room when the bullet struck the 14-year-old in the chest, killing her just two days before Christmas.
Speaking in Spanish and choking back tears, Valentina’s mother, Soledad Peralta, said: ‘She died in my arms. I couldn’t do anything. Having a child die in your arms is one of the most painful things you can imagine.’
Police shot and killed suspect Daniel Elena-Lopez, 24, after he allegedly attacked two women
The grief-stricken mother added: ‘Now our sweet angel is gone forever.’
The girl’s family said they had left their native Chile to get away from violence and injustice in search of a better life in the US.
The father said he was in Chile for the holidays when his wife called him, telling him their daughter had been killed, adding in Spanish: ‘My world collapsed on me.’
Valentina’s parents said the teen loved skateboarding and had dreams of becoming an engineer to build robots.
Attorneys representing the Orellana Peralta family said they want the LAPD to release all the video from the crime scene and for the officer who fired the deadly shot to be held accountable.
Police also shared the events that led up to the officer-involved shooting.
LAPD Capt. Stacy Spell said in a pre-recorded briefing within the press package that Elena-Lopez took his bike to the second floor of the store before laying it in an aisle then he began trying on clothes.
Police said he was asked to move it by a female store employee, and he responded by smashing a nearby computer monitor. He then hit the glass railing, took the escalator downstairs, and tried to take another woman’s purse.
When the woman resisted, Elena-Lopez tackled her and tried to attack her with the lock. The woman, who police have yet to identify and question, was able to run out of the store.
Elena-Lopez then attempted to grab another woman as she came down the escalator. She, too, was able to break away and run out of the store.
He then went back up to the second floor, where he approached a woman pushing a shopping cart from behind and hit her over the head with the bike lock. She crawled away, but Elena-Lopez dragged her back toward the dressing rooms and continued beating her.
Moore said it did not appear that Jones ‘would have known that there was anyone behind there or that he was looking at anyone other than the suspect and a wall.’
‘There’s not a police officer in America who would ever want this type of circumstance to occur,’ Moore added.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Daily Mail