Chile

Chile’s Valentina Orellana Peralta shot while shopping for quinceañera gown in North Hollywood

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Valentina Orellana Peralta, 14, of Santiago, Chile has died. She is Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas and Soledad Peralta‘s daughter.

On December 23, 2021, Soledad and Valentina went to a Burlington Coat Factory near the intersection of Laurel Canyon and Victory boulevards in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States to shop for a quinceañera dress. At around 11:45 a.m., the Chilean teenager was killed by a stray bullet.

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The bullet was from a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer who opened fire on Daniel Elena Lopez, 24, who was accused of assaulting a woman with a bike lock inside the store. One of the bullets went through the wall and hit Valentina, who was hiding in a dressing room of the clothing store with her mother.

Lopez was also fatally shot while he woman he attacked suffered moderate to serious head and arm injuries and was taken to the hospital. Per LAPD protocols for officer involved shootings, the officer who opened fire was put on paid administrative leave for at least two weeks, an official from the department told CNN.

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On December 26, 2021, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) criticized the shooting. In a statement obtained by CBS Los Angeles, LULAC national president Domingo Garcia said, “It is indefensible that trained Los Angeles police officers could open fire in a crowded store at the height of Christmas shopping without first knowing for sure if the suspect was armed.”

“Also, were they thinking about the danger of their actions to innocent bystanders?” Garcia continued. “If not, they should have and no apology or any number of words of regret will bring back Valentina.”

Valentina, an aspiring engineer, dreamed of becoming a U.S. citizen. In June 2021, she came to Los Angeles from Chile with her mother.

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