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No charges for Los Angeles officer who shot and killed teen in dressing room

Officer William Dorsey Jones Jr. fired three times responding to a man who had attacked women inside a clothing store. A 14-year-old girl praying in the dressing room was struck.
Police officers work near a broken glass door at the scene where two people were struck by gunfire in a shooting at a Burlington store
Police officers work at the scene where two people were struck by gunfire in a shooting at a Burlington store in North Hollywood, Calif., on Dec. 23, 2021.Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The California Attorney General declined to file criminal charges against a Los Angeles police officer who fired a rifle at a suspect inside a clothing store in 2021, killing a 14-year-old girl in a dressing room, authorities said Wednesday.

Officer William Dorsey Jones Jr. fired three times when police responded to a Burlington clothing store in the San Fernando Valley where 24-year-old Daniel Elena Lopez had brutally attacked two women on Dec. 23, 2021.

Valentina Orellana Peralta was shot and killed as she prayed in a dressing room with her mother. Jones also killed the suspect.

The state Department of Justice investigates all police shootings where an unarmed person is killed. Instead of criminal charges, officials recommended that the Los Angeles Police Department “should consider updating their communication training bulletin and any related training to account for the type of situation presented during this event.”

“This case was a particularly challenging one to process as this involved the loss of two lives,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement announcing the report. “Any loss of life is a tragedy, and my heart goes out especially to the family of Valentina Orellana Peralta, who tragically lost her life and whose only involvement in this incident was by being at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The police department did not immediately have a comment when reached by phone Wednesday following the release of the report, and Jones’ attorney did not respond to phone and email requests for comment.

The department’s civilian oversight board ruled in 2022 that Jones was justified in firing once but that his two subsequent shots were out of policy. Police Chief Michel Moore, who has since retired, previously found in his own review that all three shots were unjustified.

The status of Jones’ employment with the Los Angeles Police Department could not immediately be determined Wednesday. He faced disciplinary action or even firing following the civilian police commission’s ruling. However, he can appeal any disciplinary decision in state court.

The teen’s parents filed a lawsuit in state court in 2022 alleging wrongful death and negligence. Their attorney did not immediately respond to phone and email requests for comment Wednesday.