Just after 10 a.m. Sunday, Seattle police responded after the Charleena Lyle had called to report an attempted burglary at her Magnuson Park apartment. At some point, police said, she displayed a knife and two officers shot and killed her.
They said she was concerned authorities would take her children, especially her 4-year-old daughter who has Down syndrome.
Family members arriving about two hours later, the Seattle Times reported, were distraught and questioned why police shot her. She was “tiny,” they said, and believe her race was a factor, in the death of Charleena Lyle who is African American.
According to Seattle Police Det. Mark Jamieson, the police officer involved in the shooting responded to an attempted burglary report at Lyles’ apartment complex just before 10 a.m. Sunday.
The officers went up to Lyles’ fourth-floor apartment, the detective said, where “at some point, the 30-year-old female was armed with a knife.”
“Both officers had fired their service weapons, striking the individual. Unfortunately, it is a fatality,” Jamieson said. “Officers immediately performed first aid until the fire department arrived, but the fire department declared her deceased at the scene.”
A one-officer response would have been the norm, but “hazard information” linked to a previous police encounter with Lyles, she’d been arrested June 5 for obstruction of a public official and harassment, prompted the doubled-up presence, Det. Jamieson said.
The victim’s grieving sister Monika Williams, told reporters Lyles had been arrested earlier this month by officers responding to another call after she had armed herself as protection against her boyfriend.
Det. Jamieson said Lyles had a pair of scissors during the previous encounter.
“There were several children inside the apartment at the time of the shooting, but they were not injured,” the department said. “They are being cared for by other family members at this time,” Jamieson added.
The three kids, who weren’t injured in the shooting, included a four-year-old girl with Down syndrome, Lyles’ brother Domico Jones told the paper.
The small-framed, several-months-pregnant woman had endured mental health issues over the last year, Jones said.
“Why couldn’t they have Tased her?” her sister, Monika Williams, asked, according to the Times. “They could have taken her down. I could have taken her down.”
The Seattle Police Department officers were both white, according to authorities. One boasted 11 years on the force, while the other was “newer to the department,” North Precinct Capt. Sean O’Donnell told the paper.
The department entered into a federal consent decree after a 2011 Justice Department probe found officers wielded force “in an unconstitutional manner.”
However, the Department Of Justice in April hailed “initial compliance,” with its court-ordered monitor marking a “major milestone” in reforming use of force.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray vowed a full investigation into the fatal shooting.
“Today’s incident is a tragedy for all involved. My thoughts are with the many people impacted, including three children and the responding officers,” he said in a statement.
“Our historic police reforms, from de-escalation training to civilian-monitored force review, are in place to address such crises. This will be fully investigated.”
The probe’s “quality and integrity” will be reviewed by the monitoring team supervising the consent decree, he added.
“There’s no reason for her to be shot in front of her babies,” Williams told reporters, according to the Seattle Times. “The Seattle police shot the wrong one today.”
The Seattle Police Department has been under a federal consent decree since 2012 after a DOJ investigation found its officers routinely engaged in excessive use of force, most often against people with mental or substance abuse problems. Federal investigators also found evidence of biased policing.
Mother-of-three Renee Davis, was pregnant, struggling with depression and other mental health issues when she was shot by Sheriff’s deputies in King County, Washington in October, 2016
Despite the DOJ investigations and reports, this is the second such case in Washington in the past year.
Seven moths ago, A Washington woman who was five months pregnant was shot and killed by King County Sheriff’s deputies on Muckleshoot tribal lands, leaving her bewildered family to ponder why.
The victim’s foster sister Danielle Bargala told the Seattle Times, at the time, that Renee Davis, had struggled with depression and mental illness before her fatal run-in with police on October, 12 2016.
“It’s really upsetting because it was a wellness check,” said Bargala, who is a Seattle University law student. “Obviously, she didn’t come out of it well.”
On the day of the incident, a relative of Davis called the sheriff’s department after receiving an alarming text from the mother of three.
Police records show that officers responding to a call about a potential suicide encountered a woman with a handgun and two small children in the house when they arrived at 6:30 in that evening.
One of the children let the deputies in. The children then led them to the closed room where Davis was, the sheriff’s office said. The home owner was inside the room, under a blanket on the bed.
She did not show her hands when the deputies asked her to do so. When a deputy removes the blanket, Davis held a handgun in one hand, an ammunition magazine in the other.
Police reports said the 23-year-old Native American woman, ignored repeated commands to drop her weapon at her home in northwestern Washington state.
Both deputies fired in response. Davis, who was five months’ pregnant, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Afterward, authorities learned the handgun was empty. The magazine was loaded. Two rifles were also recovered from the home. Davis’ family said she liked hunting,