Valentina Orellana Peralta he was just 14 years old. She was Chilean and was preparing to celebrate her 15-year-old party, but on Thursday of last week she died inside a Los Angeles shopping center, U.S, when the police began firing during a confusing operation that is now under investigation.
The teenager had lived in the North American country for six months with her mother, Soledad Peralta. They had decided to travel to visit the victim’s older sister, who works in a restaurant, but later began the paperwork to stay there.
“Valentina was a shy girl in Chile, but everything was going well for her in the United States,” said her aunt Carolina Peralta, 51, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “She was catching up with English and was more outgoing. She was happy to be with her older sister, “the woman recalled when describing the teenager, who was born and raised in the working-class neighborhood of Macul, in Santiago, the capital of Chile, and who liked to listen to reggaeton a lot.
Likewise, the victim’s family member related that Valentina’s father, Juan Pablo Orellana, is a bank employee and had stayed in the trans-Andean country. It was only last Sunday that he was able to travel to say goodbye to his daughter. According to the aunt, the funeral will be held on January 3.
“Valentina died in her mother’s arms, inside the dressing room,” said the woman, adding: “My sister does not understand how this tragedy could have happened just when they had managed to reunite the family.”
According to the police report, officers responded to a call around 11:45 on Thursday, December 23, alerting them to an assault with a deadly weapon at the North Hollywood store, located in the 12100 block of Victory Boulevard. .
Officers shot the suspect a short distance from a woman whom he had allegedly been assaulting. The man, identified by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office as 24-year-old Daniel Elena López, was fatally shot in the chest.
Only after that episode, and while searching the store, did agents find Valentina dead in a fitting room: she had been hit by an officer’s bullet that had pierced a wall near López. The teenager was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police Chief Michel Moore regretted the incident and promised an investigation into what happened. “This chaotic incident that resulted in the death of an innocent girl is tragic and devastating for all those involved,” he said in a statement.
The authority assured a “thorough, complete and transparent investigation” of the shooting and said that a video would be published during these hours that would include calls to 911, as well as images from body cameras and other evidence.
Source: “La Nación”, from Argentina / GDA