Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy at the funeral for 14-year-old Valentina Orellana Peralta, who was killed by a Los Angeles police officer’s stray bullet while shopping with her mother at a North Hollywood store.
Valentina and her mother, Soledad Peralta, had been shopping for dresses there on Dec. 23, and were in the changing room of a Burlington Coat Factory when a round fired by Officer William Dorsey Jones Jr. penetrated the wall and struck the girl.
She died in her mother’s arms. Jones was firing at a man who had assaulted customers with a bicycle lock chain and was holding the chain at the time of the shooting, according to police body camera video of the incident.
Valentina’s funeral will be Monday at the City of Refuge Church in Gardena.
Along with Sharpton, Refuge Senior Pastor Bishop Noel Jones and attorneys Ben Crump and Rahul Ravipudi, who represent her mother and father, will deliver what they term a “call to justice” in the child’s shooting.
Crump has represented numerous families of those shot or killed by police, including George Floyd, whose May 2020 slaying by a Minneapolis police officer triggered global protests over policing.
The shooting has sparked outrage and spurred debate about police response in tense, crowded situations. Los Angeles City Council members have commented, along with experts on the use of force and advocates for the Latino community.
The girl was in a changing room two days before Christmas when Jones fired three shots in the store at Daniel Elena-Lopez, who had been attacking Burlington shoppers with the bike lock. She was hit by one of the bullets.
Police received multiple, conflicting 911 calls about the assaults, some saying — incorrectly — that Elena-Lopez had a gun.
A video including surveillance and body camera footage and 911 calls was released last week by the LAPD. In it, Jones rushes past other police officers, one of whom shouts, “Hold up! Hold up!” Jones then stands over a bleeding woman who had been attacked by Elena-Lopez as the assailant moves away at the opposite end of an aisle.
Jones fires three times, then the shrieks of a woman in a nearby fitting room fill the air.
Valentina and Elena-Lopez were both pronounced dead at the scene. The LAPD and the state Department of Justice are investigating.
President Biden offered his condolences to Chilean President-elect Gabriel Boric during their first call last week.
In a brief statement posted on the White House website, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden had “offered his deep condolences to the people of Chile for the tragic death” of Valentina, who was born in Santiago.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Boric acknowledged Biden’s sympathy and noted that Valentina had been killed “at the hands of the United States police.”
“We accompany her family in their pain,” Boric continued, “and we pledge our support for justice.”