Charleena Lyles was fatally shot by police on June 18 after calling 911. The pregnant mom was just 30, and killed in front of her three kids. Learn more about Charleena and the shocking killing, here.
1. She called police over an attempted burglary
Charleena Lyles, 30, called 911 on June 18 to report an attempted burglary at her Magnuson Park, Seattle, WA apartment. When two officers arrived at her home, they shot and killed the black mother of three. It’s unclear what happened between them coming to investigate a scared woman’s break-in and fatally shooting her. Officers claimed that she allegedly brandished a knife. Her family doesn’t understand why they chose to shoot the “tiny” woman, instead of using a non-deadly forced. “Why couldn’t they have tased her? They could have taken her down. I could have taken her down,” said Monika Williams, Charleena’s sister, to the Seattle Times.
2. She was killed in front of her children
Charleena was the mother to three children: two sons, ages 11 and 1, and a daughter, 4, who has downs syndrome. The children were reportedly all present in their apartment when two police officers shot and killed their mother after arriving at their apartment. It’s not known at this point if the children witnessed their mother’s death or were in another room. They were all unhurt. One of the officers was seen cradling a sleeping child in their arms downstairs after the shooting, as the other kids sat in the back of a squad car. The kids are now being cared for by another family member.
3. She was pregnant
Charleena was several months pregnant, according to family, when she was shot by the police in her own home.
4. She suffered from mental illness
Charleena suffered from mental illness issues for the past year, and was scared that authorities would take away her kids, her family said. Charleena was actually arrested on June 5 on charges of harassment, obstruction of a public official and harassment of a law enforcement officer, but the details of the case are unclear. She was released from jail on June 14, just days before her death, on condition that she receive mental health counseling, according to the Times. Her sister said that Charleena’s mental illness had gone untreated.
5. Her family believes race played a factor in her death
Charleena’s family believes that race allegedly played a factor in the black woman’s shooting by two white police officers. The shooting is under investigation by the Seattle Police Department and the city of Seattle, according to the mayor. The SPD has been under a federal consent decree since 2012 after a Department of Justice investigation found that officers used excessive force, according to the Times. The DOJ investigation found that the force was used most often against people with mental illness. DOJ investigators also found evidence of biased policing.
HollywoodLifers, our thoughts are with Charleena’s family.