Funeral held for Valentina Orellana Peralta, teen killed by LAPD stray bullet in store

GARDENA, Calif (KABC) -- Funeral services were held Monday for the 14-year-old girl shot and killed by an LAPD officer's stray bullet inside a Burlington store in North Hollywood.

Valentina Orellana Peralta was killed just days before Christmas after police opened fire on an assault suspect inside the store - an incident that has sparked calls for justice and for the police officer that fired the bullet to face legal consequences.

Her funeral was held at City of Refuge Church in Gardena. The Rev. Al Sharpton officiated the service and delivered the eulogy.

"There is nothing normal about shooting so recklessly that a young teenage girl looking to live the American dream -- that was shopping with her dear mother Soledad possibly getting a Christmas dress -- ends up being dressed for her funeral. This could have been my daughter. This could have been your daughter. And if we don't stop it, it will be your daughter or my daughter. This must stop," Sharpton said.

The civil-rights leader added that he came to Los Angeles more than three decades ago, in 1991, following the LAPD's beating of Rodney King to lead marches and call for the prosecution of the officers responsible.

Mother of teen killed by LAPD tearfully recounts shooting, aftermath
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The parents of Valentina Orellana-Peralta, a 14-year-old girl who was fatally struck by an LAPD officer's stray bullet, spoke out at a news conference.



"Through those 31 years, we keep seeing LAPD get it wrong, and here we are again. How long it will it take for you to get it right?" he said.

"...We must make new laws, we must make new training. Those who do not know how to go into department stores ... and not shoot like this is the wild, wild west, must be held accountable," Sharpton said.

The family's lawyers, Ben Crump and Rahul Ravipudi, also spoke at the funeral and repeated their call for justice for Valentina, who was killed in a dressing room while shopping with her mother for a Christmas dress on Dec. 23.

"We pray for peace and justice for this innocent blood spilled," Crump said. An emotional Crump led mourners in a chant of "Valentina is innocent!" during Monday's service.

Her mother, Soledad Peralta, said she feels her daughter's purpose was one of love, and she feels peace and wanted to thank everyone who supports her during the difficult time.

Valentina's parents said their daughter had dreams of becoming a robotics engineer and an American citizen, and going to see a Los Angeles Lakers game with her father.

"She always told us that her greatest dream was to become a U.S. citizen ... She wasn't going to rest until she had her dream fulfilled. She always told us that this country, it was the safest country in the world. Unfortunately, she was mistaken. She only came to this country to face her death," Juan Pablo Orellana, Valentina's father, said through a translator.

A public viewing for Valentina was on Saturday at Angelus Funeral Home on Crenshaw Boulevard in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles. Later Saturday, a group of demonstrators marched from the Burlington store on Laurel Canyon Boulevard to the Los Angeles Police Department's North Hollywood station on Burbank Boulevard to demand justice over the girl's killing.

At 2 p.m. Monday, many of those same activists planned a drive-by caravan at Attorney General Rob Bonta's downtown Los Angeles office.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday that the city will "look comprehensively" at everything including training, tactics and policies in its investigation into the killing.

Three Los Angeles City Council members on Friday also introduced a motion aimed at ensuring public transparency during the investigation.



City News Service contributed to this report.
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