SEATTLE (AP) — A cousin of a mother who was shot and killed by Seattle police questioned Monday why officers didn’t use a Taser or other non-lethal options during the encounter with the woman who he said had been struggling with mental health issues in the past year but wasn’t a violent person.
Kenny Isabell, pastor of The Way of Holiness Church of God in Seattle, said 30-year-old Charleena Lyles was pregnant and some of her four other children were inside the apartment during the Sunday shooting.
Lyles was depressed and “was going through some things in her life,” but she was attending his church regularly while making an effort to improve her life, Isabell said. “Now this. It’s unfortunate. It’s disturbing.”
The two officers had gone to Lyles’ apartment after a call about a burglary. At some point, police said, the woman confronted them with a knife, and both officers fired their weapons.
“The officers immediately performed first aid,” but medics arrived and determined she had died, the Police Department said.
Lyles was black, and Isabell said he’s frustrated with police killing black people across the country.
“Do our lives really matter to them?” he asked. “What do you want from us? We try to comply and this is still happening. You’re killing our young men and now a young woman has died.”
The names of the officers involved were not released.
Police released a roughly 4-minute audio recording of the officers initially discussing “a safety caution” about the address and a previous encounter with the woman before they reached her fourth-floor apartment in Seattle’s Sand Point neighborhood.
On the audio, the woman and the officers can be heard discussing the break-in in which an X-Box video game was taken. Roughly 15 seconds later, officers can be heard saying, “Get back! Get back!” and “We need help” before gunfire erupts. A child’s cry is heard in the background.
The department said it had been a typical burglary report and “two officers were required due to…