14-year-old girl killed by LAPD’s stray bullet commemorates at LA funeral

A 14-year-old girl who was killed when a Los Angeles police officer shot at a suspect in a clothing store and the bullet pierced a wall was remembered Monday as a happy teenager with many friends who loved sports, loved animals and excelled in school. .

The body of Valentina Orellana-Peralta was shown in a pink dress inside a flower-draped coffin next to large pictures of the girl during a funeral at the City of Refuge, United Church of Christ in Gardena, near Los Angeles.

The teenager’s father, Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas, said he and her mother would never get over the devastation of losing Valentina so violently.

“As parents, we ask ourselves, is it just for our daughter to die this way? It’s an answer we will never get,” he said.

Orellana-Peralta died in the arms of her mother, Soledad Peralta, on Dec. 23 at a Burlington store in San Fernando Valley’s North Hollywood neighborhood. Police officers shot and killed a suspect who behaved erratically and brutally attacked two women.

One of the police bullets went through a plaster wall behind the man and killed the girl, who was hiding in a locker room with her mother, police say.

“We pray for peace and justice for this innocent blood that has been spilled,” said Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the girl’s family. An emotional Crump led mourners in a song about “Valentina is innocent!” during Monday’s service.

The speech was given by the civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton, who remembered coming to Los Angeles three decades ago to protest the police beating of Rodney King.

“How long will it take for you to get it right?” asked Sharpton, addressing the LAPD. He called the shooting ruthless, saying the girl’s death was “not just a tragedy, but a parody.”

Orellana-Peralta looked forward to becoming a U.S. citizen, hoping to attend a Los Angeles Lakers game with her father. She was a big fan of Lakers star Lebron James.

“This could have been my daughter. This could have been your daughter,” Sharpton said.

The girl’s mother said last month that the family had left Chile to get away from violence and injustice in search of a better life in the United States. Monday’s ceremony was translated in real time by a Spanish interpreter.

Her father said the teenager loved skateboarding and had dreams of becoming an engineer building robots. He said she got good grades even though English was her second language and she had only been in the US for about six months.

The shooting is the subject of an internal investigation by Los Angeles police. The California Department of Justice is also investigating the case.

“We in the LAPD would like to express our deepest sympathy and deep regret over the loss of this innocent victim, Valentina Orellana-Peralta. There are no words that can describe the depth of the grief we feel over this tragic outcome,” said Police Captain Stacy Spell in December.

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