LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A Los Angeles Police Department officer violated department policy when he shot a suspect and a 14-year-old girl inside a North Hollywood clothing store, the police commission ruled Wednesday.
The commission ruled LAPD Officer William Dorsey Jones’ first rifle shot at a suspect, Daniel Elena Lopez, who was attacking a woman inside the Burlington Coat Factory on Victory Boulevard in December 2021, was within the department’s policy regarding the use of deadly force, the Daily News reported.
However, the commission found Jones’ second and third shots that killed both Elena Lopez and Valentina Orellana-Peralta, the 14-year-old freshman at High Tech Los Angeles Charter School who was hiding inside a stall with her mother in the store’s dressing rooms behind where Elena Lopez was standing, were out of policy.
LAPD Chief Michel 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, the Daily News reported.
Moore, who in his own earlier ruling found that all three of Jones’ shots were outside LAPD guidelines, also said Jones, who told LAPD detectives that he believed the incident was an active shooter, should have been able to ascertain 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, stating why he agreed with a minority of the board about Jones’ initial shot.
Orellana-Peralta’s shooting led to protests and a lawsuit in the weeks following the shootings.
Attorneys for the parents of Orellana-Peralta, who filed a lawsuit against Jones and LAPD, were reviewing the commission and Moore’s decisions, the newspaper reported.
It was not immediately known if Jones will face any potential discipline.
Jones could face discipline or firing based upon the rulings from Moore and the commission. LAPD’s Board of Rights will make the final decision and Jones can appeal any ruling to the board.