A 30-year-old mother of four was shot and killed at her apartment Sunday morning by Seattle police. According to the Seattle Times, she called the police to report a possible burglary, yet when police arrived, she was killed with her children present.
Family identified the victim as Charleena Lyles, who was three months pregnant with her fifth child. Police claimed Lyles was wielding a knife at the time of the shooting, according to an official statement given by authorities.
Lyles’s family believe the police responded inappropriately because she had a history of mental health issues and is far too “tiny” for officers to have felt threatened for their life.
“Why couldn’t they have Tased her?” Lyles’s sister, Monika Williams, told the Seattle Times. “They could have taken her down. I could have taken her down.”
On Sunday, two officers were dispatched to Brettler Family Place, an apartment complex for people transitioning out of homelessness, to investigate a robbery reported by Lyles, Detective Mark Jamieson told the Seattle Times.
According to Jamieson, the officers were familiar with Lyles and her apartment, and her call was flagged because her apartment could have “presented an increased risk to officers,” he said.
On June 5, Lyles was arrested on charges of harassment, obstruction of a public official and harassment of a law enforcement officer.
Williams told TV station KOMO News that her sister’s arrest was connected to another incident at the apartment and Lyles was charged with obstruction because she refused to hand over one of the children to officers until Williams arrived at the scene. She had scissors in her hand, Williams said.
“She didn’t charge nobody or nothing,” Williams told KOMO News.
Williams added that Lyles had “mental health issues” that had not been properly treated.
During Sunday’s incident, officers went to Lyles apartment and allegedly saw the 30-year-old armed with a knife. Both unidentified officers began shooting at Lyles, who was pronounced dead by fire department officials at the scene.
The children inside at the time were unharmed. 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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(Photo: Charleena Lyles via Twitter)