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Friends and family want answers after woman shot and killed by Seattle Police

Friends and family of Charleena Lyles want answers after she was killed in by Seattle Police on Sunday. SPD has now released dashcam recordings of the moments before the shooting. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - Friends say there are more questions than answers now, after Seattle Police released audio dashcam recordings of a deadly officer-involved shooting of a Seattle mother whose family says was pregnant.

Three of the woman's four children were inside her Northeast Seattle apartment during the deadly confrontation on Sunday.

The recording is about 4 minutes long, and according to police unedited, other than the removal of the victim's identity.

Most of the recording sounds routine; two officers discussing the call prior to arriving and taking a police report once they arrived at the woman's Sand Point apartment.

In the recording, the two officers can be heard talking about that prior call. It was at the same Sand Point address with the same woman. Family identify her as 32-year-old Charleena Lyles.

WATCH: Seattle Police dashcam video and hallway video outside Lyles:

RELATED | Read transcript of SPD dashcam video

Once at the apartment you can hear an officer meet the woman, ask if they can come in and then begin taking a report.

Police were responding to Lyles' 911 call. She called to report a burglary at her apartment.

On the recording she told officers she left the door unlocked, and found the door open and items missing including and X-Box.

Shortly after an officer asked about the X-Box, you hear the officer sternly warn the woman to get back.

It’s the last 15 seconds of the recording that goes from calm to chaos.

You can hear an officer say, "Get Back, Get Back."

A child is crying and a woman's voice say, "Do it, Do it."

Then the officer says, "Hey. Hey."

The woman's audio sounds muffled, but you can hear her swear at the officers and then an officer yells back, 'Get back, get back', then you hear the shots fired.

Late Monday, we learned from police at that point, the woman was armed with two knives, one in each hand. Police said she also said something about coming after the officers.

Lyles' aunt, Tanya Isabell, said for her and Charleena's brother and other family members, releasing the dashcam audio was not helpful.

The family insists officers could have found another way to respond.

They say Lyles was struggling with mental illness and want to know why officers didn't use some other means to subdue her.

They insist police knew she was dealing with mental health issues.

On the dashcam recording, officers talked about SPD responding to another call at her apartment, earlier this month on June 5.

That incident raised concern about her mental health. On the dashcam audio the officers describe her as a known, 'mental caution.'

Police told us the day of the shooting that 'mental caution' was the reason SPD sent two officers to respond on Sunday, not the typical single officer on a burglary call.

Court documents from that June 5 incident revealed officers responded to a domestic disturbance call at her apartment.

In the documents police reported Lyles threatened them with long shears, tried to stop officers from leaving and made odd statements.

On the recording you could hear one of the officers talk about it, "Yeah she made all kinds of weird statements about how her and her daughter were going to turn into wolves."

Outside Lyles' apartment, a steady stream of family, friends, neighbors and people who didn't know Lyles left cards, candles, flowers and handmade signs. The sidewalk is covered in chalk messages, including a list of other African Americans killed by police officers with messages that read, "Black Lives Matter."

"That's all she lived for those babies, I never seen her without those babies," said Elaina Williams, Lyles' neighbor.

Their children played together and Williams said they become friendly the moment Lyles moved into the Solid Ground apartments about a year ago, from transitional housing near Magnuson Park.

"It doesn't matter what she had, you don't have to shoot that woman there are other ways you could have gone around that," said Williams, “She was a great mom and wonderful mom I don't understand that it's sad, those babies have to go on without their mother, they took their mother from them.”

"We are all just struggling to get answers right now," said Seattle Councilmember Rob Johnson.

The shooting happened in Johnson's district. He listened to the dashcam audio and said it's left him with questions.

"If things did change so quickly why was that the officers reaction? Were they fearful for their lives, were they fearful of the victim’s life, for the children, all questions we don't have answers to yet," he said.

Johnson, a father of three, said the first thing he thought of was the three children inside the apartment that day.

"What it said to me is how scary that circumstance must have been for those little kids," said Johnson.

Family says Lyles' older daughter was not home.

Johnson said he and other council members wants to know what protocols were followed and why, and are demanding a fair, full and swift investigation for the family and all those who call police for help.

"That feeling of a mistrust in government is exacerbated when an event like that occurs, people should feel safe to call the police and know the police are on their side," said Johnson.



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