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The California Department of Justice has announced that a Los Angeles police officer who shot and killed a young girl with a stray bullet will not face charges. 

Officer William Dorsey Jones Jr. was involved in a fatal shooting at a Burlington Coat Factory when he fired three times while pursuing an assailant. This incident, which took place in December 2021, resulted in the death of 14-year-old Valentina Orellana Peralta as she hid in a dressing room.

Valentina was killed by a bullet that penetrated a wall while she was with her mother, trying to stay safe amidst the chaos. The same gunfire also resulted in the death of the man Jones was pursuing, who had previously attacked two women within the store. Following this, the California Department of Justice reviewed the case but opted not to press criminal charges against Jones. Instead, they recommended that the Los Angeles Police Department revise its training procedures to better address such situations.

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Attorney General Rob Bonta said, “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 aftermath saw Valentina’s grieving family seeking answers and accountability from the LAPD. Her father, Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas, expressed his profound anger, stating, “It is like my whole heart has been ripped out of my body. We want justice for our daughter. Valentina’s life mattered.”

A review by the LAPD civilian board in 2022 found that while Jones’ initial use of lethal force was justified against the attacker, his decision to fire more than once was not. 


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