Charleena Lyles shooting: Police shouted 'get back' before killing pregnant mother

Charleena Lyles called the police about a burglary in her home, and while the two officers were there investigating, they say Lyles "confronted" them with a knife before she was shot and killed.

According to a police account of the incident, Lyles pulled out a knife when officers responded to the call.

Her family described her as a "tiny" woman, and said she was several months pregnant and had been struggling with mental health issues for the past year.

"Both officers who discharged their weapons during the incident will be placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation, in accordance with department protocol", the Department said. Police say Charleena had a knife, prompting them to shoot her in front of her children.

Seattle police Chief Kathleen O'Toole said the officers in the shooting did not have stun guns, but did have other less lethal tools.

Although the officers immediately got her first aid during the time the Seattle Fire Department came over, but the officials declared her dead upon arriving.

"Get back! Get back!" an officer says, and a woman's voice responds, "Do it!"

The initial conversation between the pregnant woman and the two Seattle police officers seemed polite, professional and calm.

"There were several children inside the apartment at the time of the shooting, but they were not injured", a police statement read.

Lyles' family told reporters on Sunday that she suffered from mental health issues and appeared to be having a breakdown of some sort when she called the police for help.

"After talking with Lyles' family, we learned that Lyles has experienced a recent sudden and rapid decline in her mental health", Lim wrote. At the same time, the force that SPD officers do use is, by and large, reasonable, necessary, proportional, and consistent with the Department's use of force policy, " the report said. She was arrested 26 times, most recently on June 5th, two weeks before she was shot and killed.

This commotion lasts 16 seconds, and then they fire the gunshots that kill her.

"Wait, is this the one with like the three kids?" one officer says on the audio before the shooting.

Officer: So you said an Xbox was taken??

Jamieson said officers have responded to calls at the apartment unit before.

After the conversation, dashcam footage from the squad vehicle shows the officers walking into the building.

Charleena Lyles lived there with her four children.

She also made comments of a religious nature, claimed to want to "morph into a wolf", and called the officers devils and members of the Ku Klux Klan, according to the police report.

In the audio recording, the officers are heard talking about Lyles as someone who has said "weird statements" and has a "safety caution".

The video from the apartment hallway has no audio, but it shows the officers entering the apartment.

The decree was put in place after a Department of Justice investigation concluded that Seattle officers escalated situations, and used unnecessary or excessive force, when arresting individuals for minor offenses, according to a 2011 federal report. I would've honestly preferred police to consider even backing out of the apartment and reassessing the situation instead of using lethal force.

A court-appointed monitor overseeing use-of-force reforms has found that in responding to roughly 10,000 incidents a year in which people are in behavioral crisis, Seattle officers use force just 2 percent of the time.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray called the shooting a "tragedy for all involved" and vowed transparency throughout the probe.

  • Larry Hoffman