14 year old Valentina Orellana-Peralta’s dream of becoming an American citizen and studying robotics is all over after she was shot by police days before Christmas while in the dressing room floor of a Los Angeles clothing store.
LAPD on Monday, December 27 released edited surveillance camera footage and police body camera videos showing the events that led to the shooting to death of the teen by an officer firing at a suspect.
The video shows a 24-year-old suspect identified as Daniel Elena-Lopez entering the Burlington Coat Factory store in Los Angeles with his bike and wearing a tank top and shorts. He takes the escalator upstairs with his bike.
Moments later, he returns to the escalators wearing a multicolored jacket and long pants before swinging his bike lock at customers, according to police. He is seen attacking several female customers.
Several body camera videos released by police show a woman on the floor covered in blood as officers arrive and attempt to find the suspect, who, according to a police statement, was a short distance away.
An officer can be heard on the body camera footage firing three bullets toward the suspect, who later falls to the ground. Video shows the officer firing a rifle at the suspect. One of the bullets hit and killed Valentina
From the video it can de deduced that the police knew the area hadn’t been cleared of customers before they started shooting.
Now, Valentina’s dad, Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas, who flew to Los Angeles from their native Chile, told reporters on Tuesday that his daughter had once assured him the US was “the safest country in the world.”
Valentina came to the United States from Chile with her mother and sister about six months ago. Her father remained in Chile, but had planned a trip to California for the holidays. He had hoped to take his daughter to a Los Angeles Lakers game.
“I have no words to describe what I’m going through, especially during this holiday season,” Valentina’s father said.
“I cannot sleep… All she wanted was to become a American citizen. I once told her, let’s leave this country. ‘No, papa,’ she said. “This is the safest country in the world, a country of opportunity.’ Now my daughter is dead at the hands of the state.”
In tears, Valentina’s mother, Soledad Peralta, described taking cover after hearing screams while shopping for a Christmas dress for the girl.
“We sat down and held each and prayed,” said Peralta while describing how she clutched her daughter and prayed in the dressing room moments before the girl was struck by a round from a police rifle.
Peralta spoke at a news conference outside LAPD headquarters alongside civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump and others.
“She died in my arms. I couldn’t do anything. To see a son or daughter die in your arms is one of the greatest and most profoundly painful things you can imagine. Valentina meant to world to me and her family and friends. Now our sweet angel is gone forever. Valentina give us strength to find justice. My daughter, I love you.” Peralta said
Ben Crump, one of several attorneys representing Valentina’s family, said the legal team is seeking access to all evidence from the LAPD investigation.
“Never should this 14-year-old little girl end up as collateral damage at a shopping plaza,” Crump said.
In a statement, the board of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents LAPD officers, offered its condolences on Tuesday.
“Words cannot convey our utter sorrow over the loss of Valentina Orellana-Peralta,” the statement said.
“We pray for Valentina’s family as they cope with this unbearable tragedy and we also pray for the officer involved in this incident as he is devastated over what occurred.”
Watch the video of the shooting…
Bodycam footage of LAPD in NoHo shooting that led to the death of a 14 year old girl in a fitting room.
Reckless. They knew the store hadn’t been cleared. There needs to be accountability.
— Dara Stransky for Congress (@darafaye) December 28, 2021