The annual Global Impact Conference 2022 brings together visionary business leaders to revolutionize educational systems and inspire collaborative actionRead more APO Group announces content partnership with Pan-African broadcaster VoxAfricaRead more MainOne, an Equinix Company’s MDXi Appolonia Achieves Tier III Constructed Facility certification (TCCF), Now Most Certified Data Center in GhanaRead more United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warns rising tide of hunger, insecurity, and underfunding worsening gender-based violence risksRead more The Royal Thai Embassy presents the cultures of Thailand at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Festival in KenyaRead more Climate change is the biggest global threat, young people in Africa and Europe tell European Investment Bank (EIB), Debating Africa and Debating EuropeRead more $2 million in prizes awarded at Conference of the Parties (COP27) to African youth-led businessesRead more Africa and Europe’s top business and public sector leaders gather to chart Africa’s economic rebirthRead more The Thai delegation’s active participation at the 145th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in KigaliRead more Canon shares winning image of its Redline Challenge competition 2022Read more

Family bid farewell to teen accidentally shot by US police

show caption
Black civil rights leader Al Sharpton criticised police willingness to shoot, saying there was 'nothing normal' about it./AFP
Print Friendly and PDF

Jan 11, 2022 - 06:23 AM

LOS ANGELES — Friends and family of the teenager accidentally shot dead in a department store by US police gathered to say an emotional farewell on Monday.

Valentina Orellana Peralta died when she was hit by a stray bullet as officers in Los Angeles opened fire at a man rampaging around the store with a bike lock.

The 14-year-old, who had been shopping for Christmas clothes, died in her mother’s arms as the two hid in a changing room.

Juan Pablo Orellana, the father of the young Chilean, told reporters he was “devastated” by her death.

He and Soledad Peralta, Valentina’s mother, were greeted at the City of Refuge church by Al Sharpton, a leading figure in the Black civil rights movement in the United States.

“There is nothing normal about shooting so recklessly that a young teenage girl looking to live the American dream, (who) went with her mother Soledad to a department store… ends up being dressed for her funeral,” Sharpton told the congregation.

Los Angeles police have come under criticism for the way officers stormed the department store with guns drawn.

The man they were looking for did not have a firearm, and was moving away from them and from a woman he had attacked, when one officer began shooting, bodycam footage showed.

“I wonder if this would be a department store in an upscale area, would you have been shooting like that?” Sharpton asked.

The suspect, 24-year-old Daniel Elena Lopez, died at the scene.

Benjamin Crump, a prominent civil rights lawyer who represented George Floyd’s family, said justice needed to be served.

“Valentina’s blood will not leave the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department as long as they continue to justify the unjustifiable actions that caused a 14-year-old angel to shed her innocent blood,” he said.

The teenager’s family all wore black sweaters with the young girl’s image and the Spanish caption “Justicia para Valentina” (Justice for Valentina).

Those gathered observed a minute’s silence at the ceremony, embracing around Valentina’s coffin.

Orellana kissed his dead daughter and the casket was sealed.

Valentina, who arrived in the United States last year, was set to be buried later at a private ceremony.

LAPD Officer William Jones, who fired the bullet that killed Valentina, has been placed on administrative leave.

Union officials have said Jones had recently completed a course on handling “active shooter” situations, and was following his training.

At least one 911 caller wrongly told operators that Lopez was armed.

The killing sparked renewed criticism of police willingness to resort to deadly force.

There is no official national record of fatal shootings by US police officers, and reporting of incidents by departments is voluntary.

A tally by the Washington Post shows almost 900 people were shot and killed by police in 2021.

MAORANDCITIES.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.