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Seattle police released dashcam footage Monday of an incident in which officers shot and killed a woman Sunday near Magnuson Park in the Sand Point neighborhood.
The incident happened just before 10 a.m. Sunday at a Solid Ground housing complex for formerly homeless families in the 6800 block of 62nd Avenue NE.
According to a Seattle police spokesperson Mark Jamieson, two officers responded to a burglary call at an apartment unit where the tenant had a previous history with police.
"Although this was a typical burglary report, two officers were required due to information pertaining to this address that presented an increased risk to officers," police said in a released statement.
When they arrived, police say officers were confronted by a 30-year-old woman armed with a knife. Both officers opened fire, striking the woman several times. Family members later identified the woman as Charleena Lyles.
In the video, police say you can hear the officers talking about this history of the residence and their concerns, then they talk to the caller before their confrontation with the woman. The video ends with the gunfire.
Related: Transcript of dash cam footage
Medics later arrived at the scene and declared Lyles dead at the scene. The officers were not hurt.
“I listened to the audio time and time again and got the same impression of just how quickly things changed,” Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said. “It seemed they were having a cordial discussion, a very respectful discussion and suddenly things changed dramatically.”
Police say three children were inside the apartment when the shooting happened. The children were not hurt. It was unclear what relationship the children had with Lyles, but police say they were being cared for by other family members.
Family members said she Lyles a history of mental problems. Her sister said Lyles was a mother of four children who had previous encounters with police.
Solid Ground, the housing development where Lyles lived, works to end poverty among its residents.
"We call for a thorough and fair investigation,” Solid Ground Communication Director Mike Buchman said in a statement. "We seek understanding about whether or not de-escalation protocols were followed, and if not, why? We seek a commitment by SPD to reforms, and de-escalation, especially for people with a history of trauma. We call for increased funding for our community’s mental health, housing, and other systems."
Seattle Police has significantly increased their crisis intervention training, and is at "the forefront of training," according to O’Toole.
“It will remain to be seen what will happen in this instance after the investigation is completed,” O’Toole said.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has promised a thorough review of what led up to Lyles death. At a groundbreaking for an affordable home and retail space project Monday evening, he acknowledged the African-American community is “mourning” this loss.
“We are here today grieving over another devastating encounter between the African-American community and the police,” Murray said.
A memorial of flowers and candles was growing Monday at the scene of the shooting.
In the past, the family said officials were able to arrest Lyles without using deadly force. Loved ones wondered why police didn’t use tasers or another non-lethal device.
O’Toole said officers have a choice of less-lethal weapons they carry, including a taser, pepper spray, or a baton. However, officers need to decide if they have time to use those weapons of if they have to resort to lethal force.
“In this instance, the officers of course will be questioned and their performance will be scrutinized,” O’Toole said. “But again, it comes down to split-second decision making when an officer confronts a situation.”
Jamieson said officers have responded to calls at the apartment unit before.
Court documents say the woman was arrested June 5 for threatening Seattle Police officers. In that incident, police say the woman armed herself with a pair of extra long metal shears and wouldn't drop them after multiple requests.
According to the documents, Lyles was making "several unusual comments such as wanting to 'morph into a wolf' and was talking about 'cloning her daughter.'"
Lyles' kids stayed with her sister after the incident, court documents say.
Jamieson said officers were conducting a "very thorough" investigation of the incident. Both officers who fired their weapons will be placed on paid administrative leave, in accordance with department protocol.
KING 5's Chris Daniels, Amy Moreno, and Elisa Hahn contributed.
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