A distraught Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas, who flew to Los Angeles from their native Chile, spoke at a news conference along with his wife and civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump and others.
“I have no words to describe what I’m going through, especially during this holiday season,” her father said. “I can’t sleep… All she wanted was to become an American citizen. I once told her, let’s leave this country. ‘No, Daddy,'” she said. “This is the safest country in the world, a country with opportunities .’ Now my daughter is dead at the hands of the state.”
The video shows a 24-year-old suspect, identified as Daniel Elena-Lopez, entering the Burlington Coat Factory store in North Hollywood with his bicycle wearing a tank top and shorts. He takes the escalator up with his bicycle.
Moments later, he returns to the escalators dressed in a multicolored jacket and long pants before waving his bike lock at customers, according to police. He is seen assaulting several female customers.
Several body cameras released by police show a woman on the floor covered in blood as officers arrive and try to locate the suspect, who was a short distance away, according to a police statement on Friday.
The body camera images show how an officer fires three bullets at the suspect, who later falls to the ground. Video shows the officer firing a gun at the suspect.
Valentina and her mother were holding each other and praying when the bullet tore through the wall, mortally wounding the 14-year-old, according to family members.
“The girl’s American dream has been taken from her,” Valentina’s uncle, Rodrigo Orellana, told DailyExpertNews affiliate Chilevision this week from their native Chile.
“Everyone fled to changing rooms and unfortunately the bullet found her,” he said. “They’re supposed to be the best police department in the world and they shot her.”
Police Captain Stacy Spell said the investigation is at an early stage. The incident will also be reviewed by representatives of the California Department of Justice, the state attorney general’s office and the inspector general’s office, according to Spell.
Police have released three 911 calls and radio broadcasts of the shooting.
Police were called after numerous reports of an attack with a deadly weapon and a possible shooting at the store.
In one phone call, a store employee tells the operator that there is an “enemy customer in my store who is attacking customers” and “breaking things”.
While on the phone, she also hears the woman repeatedly yelling at people to leave the store. She explains to the operator that the suspect uses a bicycle lock to attack people.
The suspect died on the spot. A steel or metal cable lock was found near his body, officials said. No firearm was found at the scene.
The victim of the assault was taken to hospital with head and arm injuries. Police do not believe the woman knew the suspect.
The officer who fired the fatal shots is on “paid administrative leave, according to the department’s related shooting protocols, for at least two weeks,” a police official told DailyExpertNews.
Last week, Police Chief Michel Moore said: “This chaotic incident involving the death of an innocent child is tragic and devastating for all involved. I am deeply sorry for the loss of this young girl’s life and I know there are no words that can ease the unimaginable pain for the family,” he said.
Cheri Mossburg, Sarah Moon and Topher Gauk-Roger of DailyExpertNews contributed to this report.