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Mom Of 14-Year-Old Shot By LAPD Says Cops Didn't Help As Daughter Died In Her Arms

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14-year-old killed in police shooting

A 14-year-old teen was killed in a police shooting at a Burlington store in Hollywood on December 23, 2021. The victim, identified as Valentina Orellana-Peralta, had been shopping for dresses with her mother at the time.

Police were in the store confronting Daniel Elena Lopez, who allegedly assaulted a woman. During the conflict, the officers opened fire and shot three bullets.

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Unfortunately, a stray bullet penetrated the wall behind Lopez and hit Orellana-Peralta while she was in the dressing room. LAPD fire reportedly killed both Lopez and Orellana-Peralta.

Who was Valentina Orellana-Peralta?

Orellana-Peralta was a 14-year-old teen shopping for a dress. At the time of the shooting, she was in the dressing room with her mother when the bullet struck her, allegedly hitting her in the chest.

In a news conference outside LAPD headquarters 5 days after the shooting, Orellana-Peralta's mother recalled her daughter's tragic final moments. 

“We heard shouting,” Peralta said of the few minutes before the shooting, explaining that she and her daughter hid in the dressing room as chaos unfolded in the store. 

Peralta said that she didn't know what was happening when her daughter was hit by a stray bullet and began convulsing.

"I had no idea she had been shot. Her body went limp. I tried to wake her up by shaking her, but she didn't wake up," Peralta said in a statement read by her attorney. “She died in my arms. I couldn’t do anything.”

Despite screaming for help in the dressing room, Peralta explained that it was a while before help arrived.

“The police did not come to help me or my daughter, but I kept screaming,” she said. “When the police finally came, they took me out of the dressing room and left my daughter laying there. I wanted them to help her, but they just left her laying there alone.”

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said, “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.”

“There’s not a police officer in America who would ever want this type of circumstance to occur,” Moore added.

Moore has also ordered the release of police body camera videos, 911 calls, and security footage.

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The police were responding to an assault call.

The police were responding to an assault call. They reached the store and began searching for Lopez, who was said to have been hiding inside.

LAPD officer Stacy Spell said, "As the officers were responding, they arrived at this location and began a search, looking for a suspect. While conducting that search for a suspect, the officers encountered an individual who was in the process of assaulting another."

Lopez had also allegedly assaulted a woman inside the store, attacking her with a metal bicycle lock. The lock was quite heavy, which resulted in injuries to the woman's head, face, and arms. The woman was later was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Assistant Chief Dominic Choi, commented, “The dressing room was behind where the suspect was, in front of the officer. You can’t see into the dressing rooms. It just looks like a straight wall of drywall.”

This isn't the first time an accidental police shooting occurred in Los Angeles.

Two years ago, a similar incident took place at a Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake.

A man ran into the store after a high-speed car chase and held people hostage. During the crossfire, Mely Corado, a Trader Joe’s employee, was shot. 

This is just one incident among many others. According to the data from The Times, police shootings have been on the rise in the past few years.

In 2019, 12 people died by police gunfire, while police opened fire a total of 26 times. In 2020, 7 people died, with fire opened 27 times. And this year, 11 people have died, while fire has been opened 30 times.

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Sanika Nalgirkar, M.F.A. is a writer and an Editorial Intern at YourTango who writes on entertainment & news, lifestyle, and pop culture topics.