Vigil held for pregnant mom killed by police as family demands answers
SEATTLE - Family and friends of the young mother shot dead by police held a vigil in her memory Sunday night in Seattle amid mounting questions about why officers used deadly force during the incident.
The family of 30-year-old Charleena Lyles says she had four children and was pregnant with her fifth child when two officers opened fire at her Sunday morning, killing her.
Family members also say she struggled with mental illness - and was not a violent person.
"She weighed 75 pounds ... they could have Tasered her," says Pastor Kenny Isabell of the Way of Holiness Church of God and Christ.
Lyles' sister, Tiffany Rogers, says, "Her kids were her everything - they meant so much to her."
Among those present at the Sunday night vigil were local hip-hop artist Macklemore as well as Seattle mayoral candidates Bob Hasegawa and Nikkita Oliver.
Now Lyles' family is demanding answers about the shooting, and the Seattle Police Department says the officers did have other non-lethal force options which were not used, for some reason.
The incident unfolded just before 10 a.m. on the fourth floor of an apartment building in the 6800 block of 62nd Avenue Northeast, said Mark Jamieson of the Seattle police.
Jamieson said two officers were responding to reports of a burglary and went to the unit to meet with the person reporting the burglary. They were confronted by a woman with a knife, Jamieson said.
Investigators didn't say what prompted the officers to shoot the woman, but both officers opened fire and she was hit multiple times. Officers attempted CPR but they were unable to revive her.
In a newly released audio clip from officers'microphones, they can be heard reviewing past incidents involving Lyles - including a domestic violence call where Lyles apparently tried to stop officers from leaving.
There also was a safety caution warning - which is why two officers responded instead of just one.
Then officers can be heard calmly talking to Lyles about what was taken during the burglary - including an Xbox - and asking if she had any idea who may have done it.
But then, there is some sort of scuffle - and the situation breaks down in seconds. Voices can be heard saying, "Get back, get back!" and later, "We need help."
Police say there were children inside of the apartment at the time, but no officers or children were injured in the shooting. The two officers are now on paid leave, in accordance with standard procedure.
Lyles' family says she was worried authorities would take away her children.