The mother and father of 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta, a bystander killed by a Los Angeles police officer in a taking pictures at a Burlington retailer in North Hollywood on Thursday, stood earlier than LAPD headquarters in downtown L.A. Tuesday with handmade paper indicators hanging over their chests.
“Justicia para nuestra hija, Valentina,” the indicators learn. “Justice for our daughter, Valentina.”
Her mom, Soledad Peralta, stated she was praying with Valentina in a retailer altering room, hiding from a person assaulting clients exterior, when an LAPD officer opened hearth on the suspect and one of many bullets pierced the dressing room wall and killed her daughter.
“We heard screams. We sat down, held one another, and prayed when one thing hit my daughter and we fell to the ground,” Peralta stated in Spanish. “She died in my arms. I couldn’t do something.”
Battling tears, Peralta stated her daughter was stuffed with pleasure, had huge desires for her future, and “had quite a lot of life to stay.”
“Please give us power, Valentina, to deliver justice to you,” her mom stated.
The woman’s father, Juan Pablo Orellana, a financial institution clerk who had traveled from the household’s native Chile to Los Angeles on Sunday, additionally held again tears as he spoke about his daughter and the devastation her killing had introduced.
“Once I bought a cellphone name and heard that my daughter had been killed by the Los Angeles Police Division, my world got here tumbling down on me,” he stated in Spanish. “I don’t have phrases to explain what I’m going by.”
Orellana stated his daughter wished to be an engineer, to construct robots, and to grow to be a U.S. citizen, however now by no means will. And he held up a skateboard — the Christmas current his daughter had requested for and now won’t ever obtain.
“Look, it’s model new, it hasn’t been opened,” he stated, emotion etched on his face. “I received’t relaxation till my daughter will get justice.”
The mother and father spoke alongside a number of attorneys — together with Ben Crump, a high-profile determine in extreme police pressure circumstances nationally, whom the daddy has retained to symbolize them.
Crump has represented different households caught within the highlight after police killed their family members, together with the household of George Floyd, whose killing by Minneapolis police in 2020 sparked world protests over police brutality.
Crump stated Tuesday that Valentina’s household wished the world to know that their daughter “was lovely, clever and had the entire world forward of her,” and that she “made distinctive grades at an English-speaking faculty though English was not her native tongue.”
Crump additionally stated the household desires justice — and can pursue it.
“The household is totally devastated. They’re nonetheless making an attempt to get previous this nightmare. Her father’s nonetheless in disbelief. He desires justice as any father would need. She desires justice as any mom would need. What would you need in case your child was killed on this method? That’s all they’re asking for,” Crump stated.
“We should always not must sacrifice harmless life within the identify of security when it was foreseeable that two days earlier than Christmas, that there have been going to be folks in a purchasing plaza purchasing,” Crump stated. “The household thinks issues may have been accomplished otherwise, to the place Valentina wouldn’t have been collateral harm [and] would nonetheless be right here on the point of have a good time Christmas.”
The mother and father spoke earlier than a big image of Valentina surrounded by a circle of white flowers. Activists additionally gathered round, some holding “Needed” indicators for the officer who shot Valentina.
Police officers have stated the taking pictures is underneath investigation, and that the actions of the entire officers concerned will likely be reviewed. They promised the investigation could be thorough, calling the woman’s loss of life tragic.
The California Division of Justice can also be investigating the taking pictures.
The taking pictures additionally killed the suspect, 24-year-old Daniel Elena-Lopez, who might be seen in video from the Burlington retailer attacking a number of folks with a motorbike lock on a sequence, severely injuring one lady.
Elena-Lopez had simply crushed that lady with the lock moments earlier than police rushed in and an officer opened hearth as Elena-Lopez moved away from the girl and the officer.
Valentina’s aunt, Carolina Peralta, in Chile, stated Valentina was born and raised within the working-class neighborhood of Macul in Santiago, Chile’s capital. She was a shy woman, however was blissful reuniting with household and her older sister within the U.S., Peralta stated.
“My sister doesn’t perceive how this tragedy may have occurred simply once they had managed to reunite the household,” her aunt stated.
Particular correspondent Jorge Poblete in Santiago, Chile, contributed to this report.