Valentina Orellana-Peralta, the California teenager killed in a department store dressing room by a stray police bullet, was laid to rest Monday — with her grieving parents still struggling to understand why she died.
“As parents, we ask ourselves, is it just for our daughter to die in this way?” the 14-year-old victim’s father, Juan Pablo Orellana, said during a funeral service at the United Church of Christ in Lost Angeles, NBC-TV reported.
“It’s an answer we will never have,” he said.
Valentina and her mother were inside a North Hollywood department store on Dec. 23 when police opened fire on a suspect — with one bullet piercing the wall of the dressing room where both were cowering and hit the girl.
The teens’ mother, Soledad Peralta, said her daughter died in her arms.
On Monday, Valentina’s cousin spoke about the teen’s thoughtful nature.
“Valentina was pensive and quiet, always thoughtful, always thinking,” Emily Carr told mourners. “She absorbed the world around her like a sponge. Always analyzing, appreciating people and places around her.”
“With so much love around her, it is no question that Valentina grew such a big heart,” Carr said. “All of her dreams consisted of applying herself into helping others.”
The service was presided over by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
The officer involved in the shooting was placed on leave.