A Texas community is reeling after a woman was shot and killed by police during a struggle over the officer’s Taser.
Social media video captured the moments before a Baytown police officer opened fire on 45-year-old Pamela Shantay Turner late Monday night. In the clip, Turner shouted “I’m pregnant,” but her family confirmed to police that she was not, ABC News reported.
The officer, who is unnamed, was patrolling an apartment complex in the Houston suburb when he encountered Turner, whom he’d dealt with before and knew had outstanding warrants, Baytown police said. Lt. Steve Dorris said the officer tried arresting Turner, but she struggled with him.
“I’m walking! I’m actually walking to my house!” Turner is heard saying in the video, later accusing the officer of “harassing” her.
As the officer struggles to handcuff her, he deploys his Taser, sending her to the ground. A scuffle ensued, however, during which Turner allegedly got a hold of the officer’s Taser and used it on him.
Baytown police say the officer was forced to draw his gun and fired several rounds at Turner. Lt. Dorris said he believed the officer feared for his life.
“Our officer was tasered, and you have to understand what a Taser is,” he said. “It’s a weapon designed to incapacitate people. The question is: ‘Was the officer in fear for his life?’ I think a logical person would say yes.”
The officer tried rendering aid after the shooting, but Turner was pronounced dead at the scene.
“It’s a tragic event for everyone involved,” Lt. Dorris told Houston’s ABC 13. “Our hearts go out to the family of the deceased. We want to get all [of] the questions answered that we can. We never want things to get to this.”
The department is facing criticism from family and neighbors of the slain woman, however, who said Turner suffered from mental illness and didn’t deserve to be gunned down.
“She was already on the ground. Why did you have to shoot her?” neighbor Johnathan Little asked. “Why did you have to kill her?”
Lisa Carr, who lives in the area and witnessed Monday’s shooting, said she saw the officer standing over Turner as he let off five rounds.
‘She said, ‘Get off of me. I’m pregnant,’ and [then] he turned around and stung her,” Carr told Click2Houston. “She took [the Taser] from him and shot him. And that’s when you turn around and he says, ‘Bam, bam, bam,’ and just shot her like that.”
Turner’s sister, Antoinette, told the station that Turner has two children, both in their 20s, and three grandchildren. She also said that her sister was taking medication for schizophrenia.
James Edison, another neighbor, argued that the officer should have called for backup if he suspected Turner was having an episode.
“If you know she has mental illness, why not ask for backup first before you try and detain her?” he told ABC13. “He got up [and] she was barely getting up off the ground and he shot her like a dog. That’s wrong. And he needs to pay for it.”
Police said the officer was injured by the taser, but the extent of his injuries are unknown. His body-worn camera captured much of the incident, police said.
The officer, who is described as an 11-year veteran of the force, has been placed on administrative leave, which is protocol, pending an investigation into the fatal shooting.
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