On January 12, LAPD officers were helping sweep and evict an unhoused encampment. During the sweep, officers had a heated exchange with volunteers who were assisting the unhoused residents of the area. When a volunteer brought up Valentina Orellana-Peralta, the 14-year-old bystander shot and killed by LAPD at Burlington before Christmas, LAPD Sergeant Thomas Willers decided to remorselessly dismiss the shooting, replying, "That's an old— that's old already." Valentina Orellana-Peralta's funeral was only two days prior to this verbal exchange.
Officially, LAPD Chief Michel Moore made the following statement:
"This chaotic incident resulting in the death of an innocent child is tragic and devastating for everyone involved. I am profoundly sorry for the loss of this young girl's life and I know there are no words that can relieve the unimaginable pain for the family."
However, LAPD officers on the ground, like Sergeant Thomas Willers, are not in line with the chief's alleged sympathies. Local copwatcher and expert on LAPD William Gude noted that the officer in question has a violent history that includes harassment of unhoused people and even a killing of a dog.
Valentina Orellana-Peralta should still be alive. She was in a fitting room with her mother when LAPD shot and killed her as well as their unarmed target. She died in her mother's arms after praying for the safety of everyone around her. It's unconscionable that LAPD officers are so quick to dismiss LAPD officer William Jones' reckless performance which resulted in this avoidable atrocity.