14-Year-Old Girl Dies in Her Mother's Arms After Being Struck by a Cop's Stray Bullet
Valentina Orellana-Peralta was in the department store's changing room, trying on Christmas dresses when police responded to reports of shots fired.
A family is mourning a 14-year-old girl who was struck and killed by a police officer’s stray bullet inside a Los Angeles Burlington Coat Factory.
Valentina Orellana-Peralta was in the department store's changing room, trying on Christmas dresses, when police responded to reports of shots fired.
Dramatic bodycam footage shows officers arriving on the scene and walking through the store with guns drawn. Another officer arrived with a rifle and shouted to the other officers that he was taking the lead.
Surveillance footage shows the suspect armed with a metal bike lock, but not a gun, as some 911 callers reported. He was attacking female customers and brutally struck one woman over the head with the lock.
The lead officer spotted the injured victim near the suspect and shot his rifle.
Police believe Valentina was struck by a bullet fired by one of the officers that went through the wall of the dressing room. Valentina died in the arms of her mother, whose heartbreaking cries can be heard on the bodycam footage.
Retired LAPD Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey says she believes the officers acted appropriately in using lethal force.
“If the suspect had a gun, as the officers believed, and fired a shot, he could have fatally wounded not only that female victim that he had been previously hitting, but the officers,” Dorsey said.
But the grieving family says their daughter should still be alive today.
“They want you to know Valentina was beautiful, intelligent and had the whole world ahead of her,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said at a press conference.
The LAPD police chief called the girl's death tragic and devastating for everyone involved.
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