Teen killed by stray police bullet in Los Angeles
Steph Deschamps / December 28, 2021
A 14-year-old girl was killed in a dressing room by a stray bullet fired by a police officer responding to an assault in the store.
The tragedy occurred on December 23 at a clothing store in North Hollywood, near Los Angeles, where police had been called to an armed robbery in progress, according to the police statement. When police arrived, they found a bleeding woman suffering from various injuries not far from a suspect. They opened fire on the suspect, killing him on the spot.
Unbeknownst to the officers, a 14-year-old girl was in a dressing room on the other side of a wall directly behind the suspect, and it wasn't until after the shooting that officers discovered the teen had been fatally shot. Based on the initial investigation, it appears that the victim was struck by one of the bullets fired by a police officer at the suspect, the release notes.
Valentina Orellana-Peralta was shopping with her mother for her fifteenth birthday, the quinceanera, an extremely important coming-of-age ceremony in Latin America and among some Hispanic communities in the United States.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore lamented a chaotic incident that resulted in the death of an innocent child, apologized to the family and pledged to get to the bottom of the circumstances that led to this tragedy.
According to local media, no firearm was found in the possession of the suspect, a 24-year-old man previously charged with domestic violence, who allegedly used a heavy metal padlock to strike his victim.
One of the leading civil rights organizations for Hispanic Americans, Lulac, strongly criticized Monday the conditions under which police officers responded. It is unacceptable that Los Angeles police officers were able to open fire in a crowded store at the height of Christmas shopping without knowing for sure if the suspect was armed, reacted Lulac President Domingo Garcia.