Lawyer for Teen Accidentally Shot by LA Police Chants 'Valentina is innocent!' at Funeral

Friends and family of 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta held her funeral Monday after she was fatally shot last month by a Los Angeles police officer while apprehending a suspect.

The teen and her mother, Soledad Peralta, were shopping at a Burlington store in North Hollywood when a man attacked two women. The two hid in a changing room while police shot at the suspect. The police bullets aimed at the suspect ended up going through the drywall and hitting Orellana-Peralta.

Benjamin Crump, an attorney who has represented families in other notable police killings such as those of George Floyd, Daunte Wright and Breonna Taylor, is representing Orellana-Peralta's family. At the service, he led a chant of "Valentina is innocent!" with other mourners.

"We pray for peace and justice for this innocent blood spilled," Crump said.

Orellana-Peralta's loved ones remember her as someone who loved sports and animals, and was a great student. Her father, Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas, said he and the young girl's mother will never recover from the loss.

According to Peralta, the teen's mother, their family had originally left Chile to escape violence.

"As parents, we ask ourselves, is it just for our daughter to die in this way?" Orellana Larenas said. "It's an answer we will never have."

Valentina Orellana-Peralta, funeral
The funeral for 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta, who was shot by the LAPD while they were pursuing another suspect, was held January 10. Above, the casket containing Orellana-Peralta is readied for her funeral at the City of Refuge Church in Gardena, California. David Swanson/AP Photo

The body of Orellana-Peralta was displayed in a pink dress inside a flower-draped casket next to large photos of the girl during a funeral at City of Refuge, United Church of Christ in Gardena, near Los Angeles.

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

"How long will it take for you to get it right?" Sharpton asked, addressing the LAPD. He called the shooting reckless and said the girl's death is "not only a tragedy but a travesty."

Orellana-Peralta looked forward to becoming an American citizen and hoped to attend a Los Angeles Lakers game with her father. She was a big fan of Lakers star Lebron James.

"This could've been my daughter. This could've been your daughter," Sharpton said.

The girl's mother said last month that the family had left Chile to get away from injustice in search of a better life in the U.S. Monday's ceremony was translated in real time by a Spanish interpreter.

Her father said the teen loved skateboarding and had dreams of becoming an engineer to build robots. He said she earned good grades, even though English was her second language and she'd only been in the U.S. for about six months.

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

"We at the LAPD would like to express our most heartfelt condolences and profound regret for the loss of this innocent victim, Valentina Orellana-Peralta. There are no words that can describe the depth of the sorrow we feel at this tragic outcome," police Capt. Stacy Spell said in December.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Valentina Orellana-Peralta, funeral, parents
Valentina Orellana-Peralta was killed on December 23, 2021, by a police officer's stray bullet while shopping with her mother at a clothing store in North Hollywood. Above, Soledad Peralta and Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas, parents of the 14-year-old, carry photos of their daughter as they follow her casket during her funeral, Monday, January 10, 2022, at City of Refuge Church in Gardena, California. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images