Valentina, 14, was shopping with her mother when she was shot by the LA police. She died on the spot in her mother's arms.
Trigger Warning: This article contains graphic details of violence that may be distressing to readers.
Valentina Orellana-Peralta, 14, was shot by the LA police last week when she was shopping for Christmas clothes with her mother. The heartbreaking incident took place at a Burlington store in the San Fernando Valley of North Hollywood, reports HuffPost. While they were looking around in the store, the pair heard screams and loud noises. They rushed to a dressing room to hide in a stall so as to protect themselves but fate had a different plan for the 14-year-old. One of the police officers fired a shot from his rifle at a suspect and the bullet pierced through the dressing room wall, killing the teenager instantly.
Soledad Peralta, Valentina's mother, recalls the horrific moment, "We sat down on a seat, holding each other, praying, when something hit my daughter, Valentina, and threw us to the floor." She adds, "My daughter died in my arms. I couldn’t do anything." The whole Peralta family is stunned about losing their daughter to an accident that could have been avoided. On Tuesday, they reached the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters demanding justice for their child. The family had moved to the U.S. from Chile, escaping their homeland to avoid violence.
Teenager in locker room shot dead by LA police shooting assault suspect, officials say https://t.co/xmGyvWYTYF— instant.com.pk (@InstantNewsPk) December 24, 2021
According to LAPD policy, the department has to release a video package in case of incidents involving police shootings. They did so on Monday, revealing 911 calls, body camera footage, and surveillance footage from the store. Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer and the family's attorney, has demanded more videos from the department. Crump spoke to LA Times about the incident, "We should not have to sacrifice innocent life in the name of safety when it was foreseeable that two days before Christmas, that there were going to be people in a shopping plaza shopping."
People called 911 from the store reporting a man hitting the customers with a bike lock. Police officers reached the spot and approached the suspect, according to the surveillance footage. One of them was holding a rifle leading the formation of the officers. They came across the woman who was beaten by the suspect; an officer's voice screaming, "She's bleeding!" can be heard in the footage. After that, the officer with the rifle fired three shots at the suspect, the police department clarified. One of the shots hit Valentina in the dressing room and her mother's screams can also be heard in the footage. The California Department of Justice and the LAPD are currently investigating the incident. Daniel Elena-Lopez, the 24-year-old suspect also died on the scene after suffering from the gunshot.
I can’t watch the video. Just reading the story literally broke my heart. https://t.co/bi5UESNRIl— GRITS1951 (@GRITS19511) December 29, 2021
Peralta's father, Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas, had been planning to take his daughter to an NBA game when he heard this heartbreaking news. The family remembers that the 14-year-old had dreamt of becoming an engineer. Orellena Larenas also showed a brand-new skateboard that Peralta had bought for herself. Her family wants to leave the new skateboard on her gravestone, "so that she can skate with the angels," her father said while choking back his tears. LAPD officers have shot 38 people this year, 18 of whom have died, reports LA Times. These figures display how there is a need for reforms that can prevent such incidents that cause the loss of innocent lives as collateral damage.
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