The truth about Premila Lal’s death

Premila Lal was only 18 years old when she lost her life in a prank gone wrong. She jumped out of a closet to scare her close friend, then 21-year-old Nerrek Galley, unaware that he was armed and looking for an intruder in the house Premila’s family had tasked him to protect. 

Lal and Galley had met a year earlier after Nerrek’s family moved to Colorado. Lal was more than a friend to Galley: she was his mentor – she’d convinced him to pursue higher education. 

Unfortunately, by a cruel and unfortunate twist of fate, Nerrek ended Premila’s life. 

Premila and her cousin planned to startle Nerrek and her younger brother

Premila and her cousin were on their way to a football game when they took a detour to the family’s near-empty house. Lal’s uncle had moved most of his property to another home and asked Nerrek to look after whatever was left in the house. 

Lal and her cousin snuck into the house and hid in the closet. They started making noises, which startled Galley and Lal’s brother, who were in the basement playing video games. 

“They somehow entered the house and my son and Nerrek didn’t know it was them,” Praveen, Premila’s father, told KDVR. Galley armed himself and Lal’s brother and started searching for the intruder. 

Nerrek shot Premila after she jumped out of the closet. “After she was shot, then Nerrek realized it was Premila,” Praveen said. Neighbor Elaine Haddox told KDVR that she called the police after hearing a scream and seeing four people rush out of the house. 

“I heard a girl screaming from inside the house. So, I looked out and I saw them coming out,” Elaine said. “There were three guys and a girl. And they were all running out of the house, screaming, ‘Hurry, hurry. We’ve got to go.’”

The four arrived at Longmont United Hospital’s emergency room minutes later. “He [Nerrek] carried her,” Praveen said. “Right to the table.” Premila Las was pronounced dead nearly an hour after the shooting. 

Premila was a popular student and track star, her parents said. “She graduated with 3.87 GPA with changing her schools,” her father said. “So she was a go-getter. We’re going to miss her.”

Praveen said that it would take time for the family to come to terms with Lal’s passing. “My life ended so suddenly and I think it’s going to take a few more days for us to really, you know, comprehend she’s gone,” he said. 

Nerrek was not charged with the shooting but faced one felony count

Nerrek Galley was an avid gun enthusiast and a licensed gun owner. Lal’s family knew that he was armed and didn’t blame him for her death. 

Praveen said he spoke with Galley minutes before Lal was declared dead. He said that the incident changed Galley’s opinion about guns: Galley said he didn’t want to touch another gun, ’a major change of attitude for a man who was interested in shooting and gun ownership,’ the Times-Call wrote. 

The cops took Nerrek away for questioning before he could talk further with Praveen. “I just want to go and tell him we can feel his pain,” Praveen told the Times-Call

The family said that they didn’t want Nerrek to face prison time for the incident as he would have to live with killing his best friend and mentor. “He is like an older son to me,” Praveen said. “He has got a life sentence already.”

“We lost a daughter, so we don’t want anybody else to lose their son, you know, especially when it was accident,” Praveen added. 

The police said their investigation supported Galley’s claim that it was an accidental shooting. “We can characterize this young woman’s death as unintended and extremely tragic,” Commander Jeff Satur, Longmont police spokesman, told The Denver Post

Satur also stated that Nerrek was arrested for ‘actions unrelated to the shooting.’ Galley was arrested on suspicion of child abuse, reckless endangerment, and permitting a juvenile to have a firearm. Authorities alleged that Nerrek gave Premila’s juvenile brother a handgun without his parents’ permission, a felony under Colorado law. 

Galley was not charged with the shooting, but was charged with the felony count. Galley doesn’t post on social media as much as he used to and has a private Instagram page. The description states that he is ‘engaged to the most amazing woman in the world.’

Premila’s family honors her yearly by distributing food to the community

“She was a ray of sunshine everywhere she went,” Premila’s father said. Lal left behind her dad, mom, brother Pranil, and sister Madhuri. Judging by Madhuri’s Facebook posts, she was very close to her sister. She wrote:

“I never thought this would happen. It hurts so bad. My best friend is gone. My beautiful baby sister. My heart literally is breaking. I wish I could go back in time. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to her. My darling sister Premila Lal, will always be in my heart and now there’s a whole there you used to fill.”

Premila’s family honors Lal by distributing food yearly to the community. Lal was a generous giver who once gave hers and her mother’s food to a homeless man one night in Longmont. “She was always trying to give stuff for people,” Lal’s cousin, Anita Prasad, told Associated Press.

Every year, on her birthday, Premila’s family provides free meals to the community at the OUR Center in Longmont. 

“I know a lot of parents who have lost a kid,” Praveen Lal said. “Just think how many meals could be given out for free if they all did this to honor their kid’s memory. They don’t always have to open a foundation to make a difference.”

In 2018, Premila’s mother helped the OUR Center’s staff by serving around 175 lunches of fresh vegetables, baked chicken, and dessert.

“It’s so sad what happened,” Rick Reiten, the food services manager, said. “But we make it a celebration of her life with a really wonderful meal. It really is a special occasion, we look forward to seeing the Lals every year.”