Update: The 14-year-old girl accidentally killed by police gunfire in a North Hollywood clothing store has been identified as Valentina Orellana-Peralta, reports the Los Angeles Times. Valentina was in a dressing room of a Burlington store when police opened fire on a man accused of assaulting a woman. A bullet tore through a wall and struck the girl. Suspect Daniel Elena Lopez, 24, also was killed. A police investigation into the shooting continues. Our original story from Dec. 23 follows:
A 14-year-old girl was shot dead while inside a dressing room at a Burlington store in North Hollywood, Calif., on Thursday. Police had been called to the store over reports of a possible active shooter, and when they arrived around 11:45am, they found a man assaulting a woman and opened fire on him. He was killed, and police later found a bullet hole in the wall connected to a dressing room. They went inside to find the girl dead, the Orange County Register reports. Police gunfire killed her, and a full investigation will be carried out, Los Angeles Police Department chief Michel Moore says. It is not clear whether a shooting was actually taking place before police arrived or just a chaotic assault, ABC 7 reports. A source tells the Los Angeles Times the girl was with her mother, trying dresses on for her quinceañera.
"Officers responding to reports of shots fired and an assault with deadly weapon went in to try and help people, and to see the loss of a 14-year-old’s life is devastating," Moore said. "There are no words for the depth of our condolences to her family." It was not clear what type of weapon the suspect had, or even what exactly happened in the chaos, but police have not found a gun belonging to the suspect. A cashier says the suspect had tried to steal a jacket, was loudly arguing with people and trying to escape, and then started brandishing "something," causing people to scatter and take cover. The woman, she says, was then beaten with whatever the man was holding. Police have not confirmed her account. The woman who was assaulted was taken to the hospital with moderate to serious injuries, CBS LA reports. (Read more Los Angeles stories.)