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Family, friends, civil rights activists and community members commemorated a 14-year-old girl who was shot dead in the locker room of a clothing store when Los Angeles Police shot a suspect and ‘a bullet pierced a wall

LOS ANGELES – A 14-year-old girl who was killed when a Los Angeles police officer shot a suspect in a clothing store and the bullet pierced a wall is remembered Monday as a teenage girl happy with the many friends who loved sports, adored animals and excelled in school.

Valentina Orellana-Peralta’s body was on display in a pink dress inside a coffin draped in flowers next to large photos of the girl during a funeral at City of Refuge, United Church of Christ in Gardena, near Los Angeles.

The teenager’s father, Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas, said he and his mother would never recover from the devastation of having lost Valentina so violently.

“As parents, we wonder if it’s fair for our daughter to die this way? This is an answer we will never have, ”he said.

Orellana-Peralta died in the arms of her mother, Soledad Peralta, on December 23 at a Burlington store in the North Hollywood neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley. Police officers shot dead a suspect who was behaving erratically and brutally attacked two women.

One of the police bullets pierced a drywall behind the man and killed the young girl, who was hiding in a locker room with her mother, police said.

“We pray for peace and justice for this innocent blood shed,” said Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the girl’s family. An emotional crump led mourners to a chant of “Valentina is innocent!” during Monday service.

The eulogy was delivered by civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton, who recalled coming to Los Angeles three decades ago to protest the beatings of Rodney King by police.

“How long will it take you to get it right?” Sharpton asked, addressing the LAPD. He called the shooting reckless and said the girl’s death was “not just a tragedy but a travesty”.

Orellana-Peralta was eager to become a U.S. citizen and hoped to attend a Los Angeles Lakers game with her father. She was a huge fan of Lakers star Lebron James.

“It could have been my daughter. It could have been your daughter, ”Sharpton said.

The girl’s mother said last month the family left Chile to flee violence and injustice in search of a better life in the United States. Monday’s ceremony was translated in real time by a Spanish interpreter.

Her father said the teenager loved skateboarding and dreamed of becoming an engineer to build robots. He said she had good grades even though English was her second language and had only been in the United States for about six months.

The shooting is the subject of an internal investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department. The California Department of Justice is also investigating.

“At LAPD, we wish to express our deepest condolences and our deep regret for the loss of this innocent victim, Valentina Orellana-Peralta. There are no words that can describe the depth of sadness we feel at this tragic outcome, ”said Police Captain Stacy Spell in December.

ABC News

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