LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 14-year-old was shopping for Christmas clothes last week with her mother when the pair heard screams and hid in a dressing room, where the girl was fatally shot by Los Angeles police after an officer fired a rifle at a suspect and a bullet pierced a wall, the family said Tuesday.
Valentina Orellana-Peralta died in her mother’s arms last Thursday at a Burlington store in the San Fernando Valley’s North Hollywood neighborhood. Her family said the teen loved skateboarding and had dreams of becoming an engineer to build robots.
After screams broke out in the store the day before Christmas Eve, the teenager locked the dressing room door.
“We sat down on a seat, holding each other, praying, when something hit my daughter, Valentina, and threw us to the floor,” Soledad Peralta said Tuesday. “And my daughter died in my arms. I couldn’t do anything.”
On Tuesday, the teen’s family stood outside Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) headquarters, next to a large photo of Orellana-Peralta wreathed in flowers, to call for justice and remember their daughter.
Speaking in Spanish and choking back tears as sirens wailed in the background in downtown LA, they said they had left Chile to get away from violence and injustice in search of a better life in the U.S.
The LAPD on Monday posted an edited video package online that included 911 calls, radio transmissions, body camera footage and surveillance video from the Thursday shooting at a store crowded with holiday shoppers. The department’s policy is to release video from critical incidents, such as police shootings, within 45 days.
The family’s attorneys — including civil rights lawyer Ben Crump — have sent a letter to the LAPD asking for more video.