A 30-year-old pregnant woman was shot dead by police officers who were responding to her call about a break-in at her Seattle apartment, authorities said.
Charleena Lyles was shot multiple times inside her home, where her four children were present. Police said the woman confronted them with two knives as they questioned her about a reported burglary.
The department released an audio tape of Sunday’s encounter in which officers can be heard shouting, “Get back! Get back!”
"We need help," an officer says into his radio. “A woman with two knives."
At one point, Lyles says, “Get ready motherf***ers,” according to a transcript of the tape provided by Seattle police.
“There were several children inside the apartment at the time of the shooting, but they were not injured,” the department said in a statement.
The shooting is under investigation, police said. The officers involved were not identified and both have been placed on administrative leave, authorities said.
Lyles’ relatives said she was three months pregnant and had been experiencing mental health issues and may have been having some kind of breakdown when she phoned police for help.
“Even if my sister had a knife in her hand, she weighs like nothing, even if she’s soaking wet,” Monika Williams told reporters at a Sunday evening vigil," Lyles’ sister said.
“There’s no way you could’ve taken a Taser and taken her down? There’s no way you could’ve taken a baton and knocked the knife out of her hand?”
A GoFundMe page established by her family has raised more than $60,000.
According to the audio, one officer tells the other to “Tase her.”
“I don’t have a Taser,” the second cop says. “Get back! Get back!”
Lyles had a previous run-in with police after calling them to her apartment, authorities said.
On June 5, she reported a domestic violence incident involving the father of two of her children, police said.
When officers arrived, she was sitting on the couch with a 4-year-old daughter and holding a large pair of scissors, police said.
“Ain’t none of y’all leaving here today,” Lyles told the cops, according to a police report of the incident. The woman also made “unusual comments” about wanting to “morph into a wolf” and “cloning her daughter,” the report said.
Eventually, Lyles surrendered the scissors and was arrested on a charge of harassment. Her family, called by officers to care for Lyles’ children, told police she had “experienced a recent sudden and rapid decline in her mental health,” according to the report.
Lyles’ case should be forwarded to a mental health court, the report said.
It was not clear what happened after that recommendation. A message left for the Seattle Police Department by InsideEdition.com Tuesday was not immediately returned.