Los Angeles: Police Kill Two at Department Store, Including 14-Year-Old Girl Trying on Christmas Dresses

By Jakob Stein

On Thursday, officers with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) shot and killed 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta in a dressing room of a Burlington Coat Factory in North Hollywood. The officers were responding to reports of an assault in the crowded store just one day before Christmas Eve, ultimately cornering and shooting an unidentified male suspect, who was also killed. When the officer shot at the suspect, his bullet went through a wall and hit Orellana-Peralta, who was in the dressing room with her mother trying on dresses to celebrate Christmas.

LAPD Assistant Chief Dominic Choi was quick to justify the double murder in a press conference, in which he mentions that the call was upgraded due to reports of possible shots fired in the store, however the supposed “deadly weapon” recovered from the scene turned out to be a cable lock. Choi said that Orellana-Peralta was hit by a stray bullet because officers couldn’t see on the other side of a layer of drywall, without commenting on the total negligence of opening fire in a crowded store on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Los Angeles police chief Michel Moore released a statement claiming that the department will launch “a thorough, complete and transparent investigation” into the killing, while also characterizing it as a “chaotic incident,” seemingly excusing the recklessness with which the officers acted. LAPD has not yet released the identity of the male victim.

LAPD has wantonly fired into crowded stores in previous incidents. Three years ago, they killed Melyda Corado, a Trader Joe’s employee, as they chased down a suspect and fired on him in the Silver Lake neighborhood.

The two police killings on Thursday mark the third and fourth people killed by LAPD officers within the past week alone. Two others were killed within blocks of each other last Saturday, one of whom was 22-year-old Margarito “Junior” López. His family has explained that Lopez suffered from an unspecified intellectual disability and mental illness, saying that he needed help rather than police bullets.

All of these police murders are set along a backdrop of a supposed ‘crime wave’ in the city concocted by the police and ruling class officials. Jamie McBride, the head of the union representing LAPD officers has said: “We can’t guarantee your safety. It is really, really out of control. I said it to people before, it’s like that movie ‘Purge,’ you know, instead of 24 hours to commit your crime, these people have 365 days days to commit whatever they want.”

The irony in McBride’s words is that they so accurately describe the police in Los Angeles, who act with impunity and are so rarely ever convicted of the murders they commit. Last year, a report from the monopoly media outlet the Los Angeles Times showed that out of 668 police killings reviewed by Los Angeles County since 2004, only four officers have actually been prosecuted for murder, three of which occurred ‘off-duty’ and were convicted while the fourth was acquitted.


Editors’ Note: The original version of this article mistakenly claimed that Orellana-Peralta was trying on quinceañera dresses for her 15th birthday celebration. The family has issued a statement to correct this to clarify that she was trying on dresses to celebrate Christmas.

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