A public viewing was held Saturday for 14-year-old Valentina Orellana Peralta, who was struck and killed by a stray bullet fired during a police shooting at a North Hollywood clothing store on Dec. 23.
The viewing was held at Angelus Funeral Home on Crenshaw Boulevard in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles.
Later Saturday, a group of demonstrators marched from the Burlington store on Laurel Canyon Boulevard to the Los Angeles Police Department’s North Hollywood station on Burbank Boulevard to demand justice over the girl’s killing.
Valentina’s funeral is set for 11 a.m. Monday at City of Refuge Church in Gardena. The Rev. Al Sharpton will officiate and deliver the eulogy. Attorneys Ben Crump and Rahul Ravipudi will also speak and repeat their call for justice for Valentina.
On Friday, three members of the Los Angeles City Council introduced a motion aimed at ensuring public transparency during the investigation into the killing, which took place as police were responding to an assault suspect who was randomly attacking customers with a bicycle chain lock.
The motion — introduced by North Hollywood’s councilman, Paul Krekorian, as well as Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez and Councilman Kevin de León — requests a report from the LAPD on the status of the internal investigation and the department’s cooperation with two other investigations into the shooting. It also requests the creation of a report that focuses on the department’s practices to protect bystanders during use-of-force incidents, as well as practices and policies following reports of an active shooter, which the LAPD was responding to at the Burlington store, despite the suspect not having as gun.
The motion also instructed the chief legislative analyst to report on best practices by other police departments for reducing the use of lethal force and protecting bystanders from risk when force is used.
The motion also seeks to have the LAPD release any remaining recordings related to the shooting, including body camera footage, 911 calls and radio transmissions.
While police released body-worn camera footage of the shooting on Monday, attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Valentina’s father, said last week the family’s attorneys believe there is additional surveillance video from the Burlington store itself, which they are trying to access. Some surveillance video clips were already released by the LAPD.
“As the city grieves over this horrendous tragedy, it is imperative that the Council and the public learn all of the facts about this incident and how the deaths at the Burlington store could have been avoided,” the motion stated.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday that the city will “look comprehensively” at everything including training, tactics and policies in its investigation into Valentina’s killing.
The LAPD’s Force Investigation Division and Inspector General’s Office are both investigating the shooting, along with the California Department of Justice’s California Police Shooting Investigation Team for Southern California. The DOJ investigates officer shootings under provisions of a bill signed into law last year.
Once the investigation has been completed, the results will be turned over to the California Department of Justice’s Special Prosecutions Section within the Criminal Law Division for independent review.
LAPD Officer William Jones, who shot Valentina while confronting the suspect, has been placed on administrative leave while authorities investigate the shooting. The officer’s union said Jones had recently completed a course on how to handle an active shooter situation and was following his training. A coalition of civil rights groups has called for Jones to be arrested and prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter.
Police fatally shot the suspect, 24-year-old Daniel Elena Lopez, but a bullet fired by Jones pierced a wall and struck Valentina.
The incident drew the attention of President Joe Biden, who offered his condolences to the people of Chile — where Valentina was from — while on a phone call with Chilean president-elect Gabriel Boric on Dec. 30.
Valentina came to Los Angeles with her mother from Santiago, Chile, about six months ago and had dreams of becoming a robotics engineer and an American citizen.