The mother of Valentina Orellana-Peralta, a 14-year-old girl who was fatally shot by police in Los Angeles, has said seeing her daughter “die in her arms” was one of the “most profound pains any human being can imagine”.
Speaking at a news conference via a translator, Soledad Peralta said she begged officers to help her daughter in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, but they “just left her laying there”.
Valentina had been in a changing room with her mum at the Burlington Coat Factory in North Hollywood on 23 December.
A bullet struck her through a drywall that is thought to have been discharged by an officer who had been firing at a suspect.
Recounting the moments before and after Valentina’s death, she said they were in the dressing room when they heard commotion and screaming.
They sat down, hugged each other and started praying.
Mrs Peralta said she suddenly felt an explosion that threw them both to the ground.
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That was when she saw white powder coming out of Valentina’s body as her daughter started having convulsions.
In a written statement read out by one of her attorneys, Ben Crump, she said she had “no idea” her daughter had been shot.
‘The police did not come to help’
She said Valentina’s body “went limp” and she “tried to wake her up by shaking her, but she didn’t wake up”.
“As I laid screaming for help, the police did not come to help me or my daughter,” she said. “But I kept screaming.
“When the police finally came, they took me out of the dressing room and left my daughter laying there.
“I wanted them to help her, but they just left her laying there alone.”
She added: “She died in my arms and there was nothing I could do.
“To see a son or daughter die in your arms is one of the pains, the greatest pains and most profound pains, any human being can imagine.”
She said her “sweet angel” was “full of joy” and had “big dreams for her future”.
As she looked up at the sky tearfully, she said: “Please give us strength, Valentina, to make justice for you.”
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The teenager was a very good student who wanted to become an engineer and an American citizen, her family said.
Her father, Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas, said they had planned to see a Lakers game together when they reunited over Christmas.
He said Valentina had ordered herself a skateboard to show her friends at school, and he will now “have to take it to the grave, so she can skate with the angels”.
He said he was “still in complete shock and disbelief”.
“It is like my whole heart has been ripped out of my body,” he added in a written statement read out by Mr Crump. “The pain of opening the Christmas presents for her that have been delivered for Christmas Day cannot be articulated.”