December 3, 2022

Today's e-Edition
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Today's e-Edition
The rifle-wielding Los Angeles Police Department officer who shot a man and a 14-year-old girl inside a North Hollywood clothing store last year was found to have violated department policy Tuesday for at least some of the rounds he fired.
The Los Angeles Police Commission found the first shot Officer William Dorsey Jones fired at Daniel Elena Lopez, who after beating a woman with a bike lock was standing at the opposite end of a clothing aisle inside the Burlington Coat Factory on Victory Boulevard in December 2021, was covered under LAPD’s rules for officers using lethal force.
However, the second and third shots he fired did not follow LAPD policy, the Commission found. In his own ruling, LAPD Chief Michel Moore found that all of Jones’ shots were out of policy.
With the three shots, Jones killed both Elena Lopez and Valentina Orellana-Peralta, the high school freshman hiding inside a stall in the store’s dressing rooms just behind where Elena Lopez was standing. At least one of the bullets pierced the dressing room walls and hit the girl, who was huddling with her mother.
Moore wrote about his decision in a lengthy report released Tuesday. The chief sits with another board, LAPD’s Use of Force Review Board, while rendering decisions in shooting cases and making judgements of all the rounds fired in any incident. He said Jones should have known his shooting of the rifle was not a reasonable use of force under LAPD policies.
Moore and a majority of the Use of Force Review Board members found that “Officer Jones inaccurately assessed the imminence of the threat of death or serious bodily injury Elena Lopez posed” when he fired all three rounds in an instant.
They said Jones should have reassessed what Elena Lopez was doing after the first shot. Instead, he fired all of the rounds in a sequence, then checked.
Moore also said Jones, who told LAPD detectives that he believed the incident was an active shooter, should have been able to determine once he got to the scene that he was not dealing with a shooting.
“(A minority of Use of Force Review Board members) opined that beginning with his arrival at the scene, Officer Jones failed to assess that this incident was not an active shooter scenario,” Moore wrote, saying why he sided with a minority of the board about Jones’ first shot.
The rulings from both the chief and the commission mean that Jones could now face discipline or firing. But he can also appeal any decision to the department’s Board of Rights, which will make the ultimate decision. It wasn’t immediately known Tuesday when any potential discipline would be imposed and publicly announced.
An attorney for Jones did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. Attorneys for the parents of Orellana-Peralta, who filed a lawsuit against Jones and LAPD, were reviewing the commission and Moore’s decisions.
LAPD officials also did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
The killing of Orellana-Peralta led to protests, a lawsuit and scrutiny of what all the officers who arrived at the clothing store did that day before the shooting occurred. When they got there, the officers found the clothing store in chaos, with Elena Lopez still upstairs on the second floor using the bike lock to whip customers and smash into display cases.
Jones was one of the last officers to arrive at the clothing store that day. By the time he parked his cruiser outside and grabbed a rifle, a team of officers was already on the second floor of the building, calling for shoppers to come forward as they searched for Lopez.

Within seconds of Jones arriving on the second floor, all the officers began to move forward. They heard a woman screaming for help: Lopez was standing over her in an aisle, whipping her with the bike lock. Jones pushed to the front, as did an officer with a less-lethal 40-millimeter foam baton launcher.
Jones and the officer with the launcher both turned into the aisle to find Elena Lopez, who was now standing at the opposite end. The woman he was beating was still on the floor, bloodied around her face. Jones pointed his rifle and Elena Lopez began to duck out of the way; Jones fired three times, striking Elena Lopez once.
Orellana-Peralta’s parents filed a lawsuit against LAPD and Jones in L.A. County Superior Court earlier this year. A hearing in that case was scheduled for December 2023, according to court records. It’s unclear why there would be such a lengthy delay in the case.
Several civil rights leaders attended Orellana-Peralta’s funeral in Gardena, including Al Sharpton and attorney Ben Crump.
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