Seattle police release tape of pregnant woman's shooting

By Doug G. Ware

June 19 (UPI) -- The Seattle Police Department on Monday released an audio recording taken Sunday that documented the deadly shooting of a pregnant woman at her home.

Charleena Lyles called police Sunday to report a burglary at her Magnuson Park apartment. Within a few minutes of the officers' arrival, she was shot dead by the responding police.


The officers said Lyles had been holding a knife and threatened them during the visit.

Lyles, 30, a pregnant mother of four, had alarmed Seattle police about two weeks earlier when officers responded to a domestic disturbance call at the home. During that visit, the officers said, the woman brandished a pair of scissors.

Monday, authorities released the audio recording, which came from a patrol car's dashboard-mounted camera. On the tape, two responding officers are heard discussing the call -- and mentioning the previous call with the scissors.

A few moments later, officers are heard shouting for Lyles to "Get back! Get back!" before gunfire is heard.

Lyles' shooting has drawn severe outcry from critics who lambasted the officers for not using a non-lethal method to control the woman.


"Why couldn't they have Tased her?" Lyles' sister Monika Williams asked. "They could have taken her down. I could have taken her down."

Family members said Lyles had been suffering with a mental illness for the past year, and feared during the two recent police responses that officers would take her children away.

"People should not fear getting shot when they call law enforcement for help," Seattle City Council member Rob Johnson said.

Seattle police have acknowledged that the responding officers could have used a different method to subdue Lyles if they feared for their safety.

"Both officers were equipped with less lethal force options, per department policy," police said in a statement.

The shooting remains under investigation. Both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave.

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