Seattle mother of 4 shot by police was getting mental-health help, records show

Charleena Lyles was shot by two officers after reporting a burglary Sunday. According to interviews and court records, almost everyone in her life tried to get her help.

Charleena Lyles, the troubled mother of four who was killed by Seattle police on Sunday, was not one who fell through cracks in the mental-health system.

If anything, according to court records and interviews, almost everybody involved in her life was trying to get her help: Prosecutors, judges, her attorney, state and private social services, her family and Lyles herself all were working to address her increasingly erratic behavior.

But it ended in her death.

Charleena Lyles shooting

Two Seattle police officers, called by Lyles to report a burglary at her Magnuson Park apartment Sunday, shot and killed her after police say she suddenly displayed a knife. Both officers fired at her.

The incident was eerily similar to a confrontation she had with officers at the apartment on June 5, when she reportedly was held at gunpoint by officers after she refused to drop a pair of large shears.

In both instances, Lyles appeared to undergo a dramatic mood change, going from passive and conversational to belligerent in seconds. An audio recording of Sunday’s shooting reveals the officers having a normal-tone conversation with Lyles before suddenly repeatedly ordering her to “Get back!” and then firing.

A report on the June 5 incident indicates Lyles sat on a couch in the same apartment, a child in her lap, and repeatedly refused officers’ orders to drop the scissors. After tense moments, she put them down and was arrested on suspicion of two counts of harassment and one count of obstructing a police officer.

She appeared in Seattle Municipal Court the next day, where everybody involved in the hearing — prosecutor, defense attorney and judge — agreed she needed a mental-health “look-see,” according to court documents and a recording of the…

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