'She died in my arms': Mum of girl, 14, shot dead by police recounts her final moments

Valentina Orellana-Peralta's family paid tribute to her outside the LAPD headquarters. Credit: AP

The mother of a 14-year-old girl who was shot dead in a changing room by Los Angeles police recounted her daughter's final moments, as officers shared bodycam footage of the incident.

Valentina Orellana-Peralta was shopping for Christmas clothes with her mum on December 23 at a Burlington store in San Fernando Valley, North Hollywood, when the pair heard screams and hid in a dressing room locking the door.

Police believe Valentina was hit by a bullet that skipped off the floor and struck the dressing room wall while an officer was aiming rifle rounds at a man suspected of assaulting customers at the clothes store.

An officer can be heard shouting in surveillance footage "she's bleeding", before Valentina's mother Soledad Peralta is heard screaming.

Ms Peralta said on Tuesday: “We sat down on a seat, holding each other, praying, when something hit my daughter, Valentina, and threw us to the floor.

"And my daughter died in my arms. I couldn’t do anything.”

Speaking in Spanish outside the LAPD headquarters, next to a large photo of Valentina wreathed in flowers, her family emotionally told how they had left Chile to get away from violence and injustice in search of a better life in the US.

They said the schoolgirl loved skateboarding and had dreams of becoming an engineer to build robots, as they called for justice over her death.

Her father Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas held up a brand-new skateboard his daughter ordered online which was delivered after she died, saying they plan to leave it at her grave “so that she can skate with the angels."

The LAPD on Monday posted an edited video package online that included 911 calls, radio transmissions, body camera footage and surveillance video from the shooting.

Surveillance footage showed the suspect, named as 24-year-old Daniel Elena Lopez, attacking two women, including one who fell to the floor before he dragged her by her feet through the store’s aisles as she tried to crawl away.

Bodycam footage of the incident shows how the shooting unfolded Credit: LAPD

A number of people, including employees, told police that a man was attacking customers with a bike lock, which was later recovered at the scene.

The footage also shows the man on an escalator appearing to attack a woman who manages to escape his grip and run out of the store. The man then left the store for a minute and a half, police said. After he returned, according to the video, he appears to repeatedly beat a woman with a bike lock. As she tries to escape, he drags her through the aisle towards the dressing rooms. Bodycam footage shows armed officers enter the store, approach the suspect and open fire.

Officers are heard saying “slow down” as an officer with a rifle moves forward, before another is heard shouting "she’s bleeding!”

The suspect, Lopez, died at the scene.

Police Capt. Stacy Spell said in the video posted online: “At this preliminary phase of the investigation, it is believed that the victim was struck by one of the rounds fired by an officer at the suspect."

“We at the LAPD would like to express our most heartfelt condolences and profound regret for the loss of this innocent victim, Valentina Orellana-Peralta," Capt. Spell said in the video.

"There are no words that can describe the depth of the sorrow we feel at this tragic outcome."

The California Department of Justice is also investigating.

The LAPD's policy is to release video from critical incidents, such as police shootings, within 45 days. The family’s attorneys — including civil rights lawyer Ben Crump — have sent a letter to the LAPD asking for more video.