This story is heartbreaking…
Seattle police officers shot and killed a woman at her apartment Sunday morning in front of “several children” when the woman, who relatives said was pregnant, “confronted” them with a knife, according to a statement from authorities.
The Seattle Times reported that the 30-year-old woman had called police to report a possible burglary.
At a vigil Sunday night, family identified the woman as Charleena Lyles, according to the Times, and relatives said she had a history of mental health struggles. She was several months pregnant, her family said, and too “tiny” for officers to have felt threatened by her — even if she had a knife.
“Why couldn’t they have Tased her?” Lyles’s sister, Monika Williams, said to the Seattle Times. “They could have taken her down. I could have taken her down.”
On Sunday morning just before 10 a.m., two patrol officers were dispatched to investigate a reported burglary at Brettler Family Place, an apartment complex for people transitioning out of homelessness, according to Detective Mark Jamieson.
Usually, only one officer would respond to a standard burglary call like this one, Jamieson told reporters. But police were familiar with Lyles and her apartment, he said, and her call flagged “hazard information” affiliated with her apartment that “presented an increased risk to officers,” the detective said.
Officers walked to the fourth floor and “at some point, the 30-year-old female was armed with a knife,” Jamieson told reporters. Both officers, who have not been identified, fired their weapons. They performed CPR, according to authorities, but Lyles was later declared dead by fire department officials at the scene.
Children inside at the time were not injured, according to police. Officials who did not say if they were Lyles’s children. Police were trying to determine Sunday whether the children had witnessed the shooting.
The department’s Force Investigative Team is investigating the officers’ decision to use deadly force. Both officers will be placed on administrative leave during the investigation, authorities said.
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