Two Seattle police officers fatally shot a 30-year-old woman Sunday morning after responding to her call about a burglary at her apartment where she confronted officers with a knife.
Charleena Lyles reportedly struggled recently with mental health issues and was several months pregnant according to relatives, The Seattle Times reported. Three children ages 11, 4, and 1 were removed from the home.
Lyles had previously called police about domestic violence and other problems, prompting two officers to respond to the robbery call rather than the usual one, the Times said.
An audio recording of the incident has been released by police in which the officers discuss Lyles' previous calls, then talk with her.
At first, the officers talk to her about a reportedly stolen Xbox, but the situation escalates and one officer says, “We need help.” Next, an officer is heard shouting, “Hey! Get back! Get back!” and then gunfire erupts.
After the shooting, the officers performed CPR, but Lyles was declared dead by fire officials at the scene. The children were unharmed.
Both officers were placed on administrative leave after the shooting, The Washington Post reported, which is standard procedure.
The shooting is under investigation, but family members are angry that police didn’t use less deadly means to subdue Lyles, whom they described as “tiny,” the Times reported. They wondered if her race — Lyles was African-American and both officers are white — played any part in the shooting.
Some Twitter users were reluctant to condemn the police for the shooting but felt it could have been avoided.
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