Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP attorneys Rahul Ravpudi, Paul Traina, Erika Contreras, and John Shaller have filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the parents of Valentina Orellana Peralta against the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department, Burlington Stores Inc., and William Dorsey Jones Jr. whose negligent and reckless actions directly led to the fatal shooting of their 14-year-old daughter. Filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiffs Soledad Peralta and Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas allege defendants not only failed in their duty to ensure the safety of the people by evacuating the department store at the time of the fatal incident, but that the tactics used by the LAPD violated recognized standards within the law enforcement community, constituted an unjustifiable excessive use of force, resulting in a needless loss of life.
As alleged in the complaint, Valentina Orellana Peralta was shot and killed on December 23, 2021 by Defendant William Dorsey Jones Jr. while working within the course and scope of his employment as an officer of the Los Angeles Police Department. At the time of her death, Valentina and her mother, Soledad, were in the dressing room at the Burlington Store in North Hollywood, California when they heard a commotion within the store. Suddenly and without warning, several loud explosions rang out, throwing both mother and daughter to the ground. The explosions were in fact gunshots, fired from a high-powered rifle by Defendant William Dorsey Jones Jr., and at least one of those bullets had penetrated the dressing room wall and struck Valentina. Soledad held her daughter and felt her body go limp, watching helplessly as Valentina lay dying in her arms.
Following the shooting, several officers were seen walking into the dressing room to see Valentina’s body on the ground. Not only did they fail to request immediate medical assistance, or take any measures to save Valentina’s life, they ordered Soledad to exit the dressing room and wait outside without providing her with any medical care or information about the status of her daughter’s condition.
According to the coroner records, the bullet entered through the left side of Valentina’s chest and subsequently passed through her diaphragm, spleen, left lung, aorta and right lung. Her death has been ruled a homicide by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.
The City of Los Angeles has denied Plaintiffs previously filed Claim for Damages (pursuant to, and in substantial compliance with California Government Code § 910) for damages sustained as a result of the incident. As a result, Plaintiffs now seek to hold defendants accountable for their negligent actions in a court of law.
Valentina’s death has deprived her parents of her life-long love, affection, society, service, comfort, support, right of support, expectations of future support and counseling, companionship, solace and mental support, as well as other benefits and assistance. Soledad has sought, and will continue to seek, counseling indefinitely, as a direct result of the severe emotional distress she has suffered in watching her daughter’s death.
Plaintiffs are seeking general, compensatory and special damages against all defendants – including damages for Valentina’s pre-death pain and suffering, funeral and burial expenses– as well as exemplary and punitive damages against Defendant William Dorsey Jones Jr., in an amount according to proof at trial.
At the time of filing, the homicide investigation to determine if criminal charges should be filed against defendant William Dorsey Jones Jr. in the shooting death of Valentina Orellana Peralta remains ongoing. Officials with the Los Angeles Police Department have not yet concluded their investigation and/or disclosed their findings with respect to the December 23, 2021, shooting.