Black woman shot dead by Seattle police was pregnant, family says

Click to play video: 'Community demands answers after Seattle woman shot by police after she dials 911'
Community demands answers after Seattle woman shot by police after she dials 911
ABOVE: Community leaders promise full investigation after Seattle police officers shoot pregnant woman while responding to report of a burglary at her apartment. – Jun 20, 2017

SEATTLE – Seattle police are investigating the fatal shooting by two officers of a black woman family members say was pregnant and struggling with mental health issues.

The officers went to the apartment – where several children were present – after a call Sunday morning about a burglary, police said.

Both Seattle Police Department officers opened fire on the woman, named by family as Charleena Lyles, inside the apartment building after they said she confronted them brandishing a knife, police said. She died at the scene.

“The officers immediately performed first aid,” but fire medics arrived and determined she had died, the police department said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

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Relatives told The Seattle Times that woman was several months pregnant and had struggled with mental-health issues for the past year.

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Police on Monday released a roughly 4-minute dashcam audio of the officers discussing “a safety caution” and a previous encounter with the woman before they reached her fourth-floor apartment in Seattle’s Sand Point neighborhood.

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On the audio, the woman can be heard discussing with the officers that there was a break-in. They calmly discuss an X-Box video game console being taken and roughly 15 seconds later, officers could be heard saying “Get back! Get back!” and “We need help” before gunfire erupts. A child’s cry can be heard in the background.

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Friends and family held a vigil Sunday night for the woman. Some questioned why non-lethal options weren’t used in the case.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in a statement Sunday called the shooting “a tragedy for all involved.”

“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,” Murray said.

He added that the investigation will be reviewed by the federal monitoring team supervising the city’s consent decree.

Seattle has been under a 2012 consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department that resolved allegations of unconstitutional policing. Seattle officials agreed to an independent monitor and federal court oversight of the city’s police department after a Justice investigation found Seattle officers routinely used excessive force.

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The department said Sunday that though this was a typical burglary report, “two officers were required due to information pertaining to this address that presented an increased risk to officers.”

-With a file from Reuters

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