Valentina Orellana Peralta: Teen fatally shot by LA cop was shopping for quinceañera

The 14-year-old teen was hit by a stray bullet that went through the wall of a dressing room she was in after a cop opened fire at a male assailant.


                            Valentina Orellana Peralta: Teen fatally shot by LA cop was shopping for quinceañera
LAPD's Stacy Spell addressing reporters outside Burlington clothing store (Twitter/Popitics1)

LAPD in Burlington is facing criticism from all quarters after a cop opened fire at a clothing store on a male assailant and a stray bullet killed a 14-year-old girl who was shopping for her quinceañera. The teenager who died has been identified as Valentina Orellana Peralta. The incident happened on December 23 at around 11:45 am. Police were initially responding to reports of a person being assaulted with a deadly weapon and of reports that shots were being fired and people were sheltering in place, Los Angeles police Capt. Stacy Spell said at a news conference.

LAPD said they were responding to multiple radio calls about the ensuing chaos and started searching for the suspect after reaching the store. In the process, "the officers encountered an individual who was in the process of assaulting another, and an officer-involved shooting occurred," Spell said. The male suspect was identified, shot down, and declared dead on the scene, LAPD said. While scanning the store later for other suspects and victims, police found Peralta who was also pronounced dead at the scene. "During a search for additional suspects and victims, ofcrs discovered a victim of a gunshot wound, that victim was determined deceased at scene. This is an ongoing investigation and many of the details are under investigation. Additional info to follow," the tweet read. 

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Who was Valentina Orellana Peralta?

Officials said Peralta's death occurred as the dressing room she was in was directly behind the male suspect and out of the officer's view. "As ofcrs contacted the suspect and OIS occurred, one of the officer’s rounds penetrated a wall that was behind the suspect, beyond that wall was a dressing room. Officers search the dressing room and found a 14-year-old female victim who was struck by gunfire," a tweet read. LAPD Assistant Chief Dominic Choi during a conversation with reporters in the evening said, "At this time we believe it was a round coming from an officer."

At this moment not much is known about Peralta apart from the fact that her life was cut short just days before her 15th birthday celebrations and she was struck with gunfire in front of her mother who was present with her in the dressing room helping her try on dresses. People on social media are demanding that the cop who fired the bullet that struck her be held accountable for her death. "Valentina Orellana-Peralta, 14 years old. Shot dead in front of her mother two days before Xmas while trying on dresses for her quinceanera because LAPD "forgot" people try on clothes in dressing rooms at department stores. Same cops 'bout to spend Xmas with their families now," a tweet read. "Valentina Orellana-Peralta is dead because a mentally ill person struck someone with a bike chain and the cops in their infinite wisdom didn't consider they were shooting into the dressing rooms ffs," wrote another. 

"Valentina Orellana-Peralta should be alive and headed to a Quincañeara but because the city continues to fund LAPD and allow them to do whatever they want, she won't spend another Christmas with her family. I swear to every victim of police violence, we will abolish them. We must," a third tweeted. Police Chief Michel Moore issued a statement regarding Peralta's death. "This chaotic incident resulting in the death of an innocent child is tragic and devastating for everyone involved. I am profoundly sorry for the loss of this young girl’s life and I know there are no words that can relieve the unimaginable pain for the family.

My commitment is to conduct a thorough, complete and transparent investigation into the circumstances that led up to this tragedy and provide the family and public with as much information into the circumstances that led up to this tragedy and provide the family and public with as much information as possible. I have directed the release of critical incident video by Monday, December 27th which will include the 9-1-1 calls, radio transmissions, body worn video and any CCTV and other evidence gathered at this preliminary stage."