Charleena Lyles: 30-Year-Old Pregnant Seattle Woman Gunned Down By Police She Called
Charleena Lyles was a pregnant mother trying to get her life on track despite numerous troubles, including mental and physical. Her boyfriend was reportedly abusive at times, which made things even worse. Still, her family said that she was a loving person, a good-hearted woman and a petite friend who was "78 pounds soaking wet."
Yet, she was shot and killed by Seattle police officers Sunday, June 18, 2017 in what is becoming a common occurrence in our nation's cities. The pregnant mother with three children had called the officers to report an attempted burglary her Magnuson Park apartment.
Interim Police Chief Carmen Best called the officer failure to use a taser in the incident “unacceptable," according to the Seattle Times.
“Your complacency in this regard is unacceptable and added an otherwise unnecessary element to an incident already of significant public concern,” Best was quotes as saying.
The official police narrative is that when they approached the dwelling just after 10 a.m., Lyles brandished a knife.
“Officers were confronted by a 30-year-old woman armed with a knife,” the department wrote on its web blotter (now since deleted). “Both officers fired their duty weapons, striking the woman."
Lyles was hit multiple times, before she succumbed from her injuries. Her family said that she had been struggling with "mental health issues" for the past year or so. Family members said that Lyles may have thought that the officers were coming to take her children, ages 11, 4 and a 1-year-old.
“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.”
“Why couldn’t they have Tased her? They could have taken her down. I could have taken her down,” Monika Williams, Lyles’ sister, said, according to the Seattle Times.
Outside the shooting, Lyles sister wept uncontrollably, yelling at officers. “There’s no reason for her to be shot in front of her babies,” Williams was quoted as saying. “The Seattle police shot the wrong one today.”
“I don’t understand why they got to kill everybody,” Tonya Isabell, 54, Lyles’ cousin, said, according to Crosscut. “Just because of where she lived and the mental things she’s going through doesn’t mean you get to take her life,” Isabell said.
Police Detective Mark Jamieson told reporters on the scene that when the officers were dispatched to the apartment complex, they were alerted to “hazard information” about Lyles that prompted a two-officer response to her fourth-floor unit at Brettler Family Place apartments.
Local media reported that on June 5, Lyles was taken into custody for a domestic incident with a man she was involved with. In that incident, she reportedly brandished some scissors.
The shooting will be subject to a review by the police department’s Force Investigation Team and the Office of Professional Accountability, an officer said. The King County Prosecutors’ Office also will also look into what happened, leaning heavily on the coroner's report.
A GoFundMe set up in Lyles behalf says this:
"This morning Seattle Police Killed 30 year old woman CHARLEENA LYLES IN FRONT OF HER CHILDREN she called the police to report a burglary please help her family she was a mother four children and pregnant with her fifth child please help us come together to support her children and family during this tragedy.
In less than 24 hours, the GoFundMe has doubled its stated funds goal.
The officer who shot Lyles was reportedly suspended from the force only two days.