Charleena Lyles (pictured) was nearly four months pregnant on June 18 when two cops shot her dead in her apartment, after she called to report a robbery
The father of a pregnant woman who was shot dead by police officers after she called to report a robbery in June has released her autopsy report.
Charleena Lyles was nearly four months pregnant on June 18 when she called police to report an Xbox stolen at her Seattle apartment.
It’s still unclear how the confrontation unfolded, but in less than three minutes, the two officers opened fire on the 30-year-old mentally ill woman in front of three of her four children.
The officers, Jason Anderson and Steven McNew, said that they started shooting at Lyles when she lunged at them holding knives.
The autopsy report, released Wednesday, shows that Lyles was shot seven times, including twice in the back.
‘Not one shot should have been fired, let alone seven,’ lawyer Karen Koehler told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
One of the bullets perforated her uterus, striking her unborn baby boy. Both mother and son died at the hospital. The unborn baby boy would have been Lyles’ fifth child.
The report also included toxicology reports, showing that Lyles didn’t have alcohol or drugs in her system at the time.
An autopsy report released Wednesday shows she was shot seven times – including twice in the back
The report also included toxicology results showing she didn’t have drugs or alcohol in her system at the time
Her father, Charles Lyles, told The Guardian: ‘Hearing the details of the shooting just makes me feel more empty. I lost my daughter and my next grandson. I just don’t have the words.’
The fact that she was shot in the back leads family members to question the officers’ side of the story.
‘Did they shoot her as she fell to the ground? Was she running away?’ cousin Katrina Johnson asked. ‘How did she get shot in the back? I still don’t know that and understand that, but any which way, it was excessive force. Seven times for her little pregnant 100-pound self was out of control.’
Koehler said that they decided to release the autopsy report to dispel the public assumptions about the case.
‘If you have been reading the dialogue you might have assumed she was a poor, single black woman with multiple children who must have been on drugs, and that is a false assumption and a false narrative,’ Koehler told the Seattle Times.
Jason Anderson (left) and Steven McNew (right) are the two officers who shot Lyles dead. They are on paid administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation
Lyles struggled with mental illness and had past interactions with the police.
Just two weeks before she was fatally shot, cops responded to a domestic violence call at the house and found Lyles holding a pair of shears to one of her kids.
She allegedly talked to police about morphing into a wolf and accused them of being members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Eventually, the officers were able to persuade Lyles to drop the shears. They waited with her until her sister could arrive to take care of her kids and then took her to jail.
She was released a few days before her death and ordered to seek mental health treatment.
On the day of the fatal shooting, Lyles called police reporting a robbery at her apartment, saying that she came home and found her Xbox missing. Surveillance footage would later show that no one entered her apartment in the hours before she was shot.
Surveillance footage shows the two officers responding to Lyles’ apartment after getting a report about a robbery on June 18
Less than three minutes after arriving, the cops took out their guns and started shooting
After receiving the call, one of the officers read a warning on Lyles’ past behavior, saying she had been ‘assaultive to officers’.
He called for backup and once the other officer arrived, they had a discussion and decided it was safe to respond since she didn’t have a mental health tag on her report (even though she did indeed have one.)
When police arrived on the scene, their conversation with Lyles was at first cordial, according to audio released of the incident.
It’s unclear how things escalated but Lyles eventually started yelling at the pair.
‘Do it! Do it … Are you ready? mother f*****s’ she said, according to court documents.
The cops said they started shooting when she lunged at them holding one or two knives.
Lyles’ one-year-old and four-year-old children were crawling nearby. Her 11-year-old son was in another room.
Lyles was pregnant with her fifth child when she was killed. Both mom and her unborn son died at the hospital
In the wake of Lyles’ death, much attention has been paid to the fact that one of the officers didn’t have a taser on him, as is required.
The Seattle Police Department is still investigating the deadly shooting, and both officers remain on paid administrative leave in the meantime.
Earlier this month, Lyles’ family filed a claim against the city – the first step in filing a lawsuit. Ninety days after the claim is filed, the family will be able to formally sue.
The family’s claim says the two officers ‘lost their composure’ when Lyles came at them with knives, and that they failed to order her to drop her weapons as a warning before shooting.
They also say the two cops knew about Lyles’ mental illness and should have had a plan for dealing with her, as is required by the 1999 Americans with Disabilities Act.
‘The police narrative is that she had a knife and they were justified in shooting her dead,’ Koehler said. ‘They don’t want to talk about the fact that they knew she had recent mental-health issues but chose to go in without any game plan.’
Lyles struggled with mental health issues, and cops responded to her apartment just two weeks earlier, finding her there holding a pair of shears to one of her children