King County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a pregnant mother of three Friday night in Washington as they arrived to the woman’s home to check on her well-being.
Authorities were called to the home of 23-year-old Renee Davis, located on the Muckleshoot tribal lands, shortly after 6:30 p.m. According to Davis’ foster sister Danielle Bargala, the young mother struggled with depression and had texted a friend earlier that day to say she was feeling suicidal. That person then notified police.
The Seattle Times reports that deputies found Davis at her home armed with a handgun and two small children nearby. Both children, aged 2 and 3, were Davis’, Bargala told the paper. The third child, who is 5, was with a family friend at the time of the incident.
Deputies reportedly fired five rounds at Davis, who is of Native American descent, according to Washington’s KOMO News. One of the shots fatally wounded the young mother, who was five months pregnant.
The King County sheriff’s office has declined to give any details about what led to Friday’s shooting, leaving Bargala and her family to wonder what really happened after police arrived at her sister’s home.
“It’s really upsetting because it was a wellness check,” Bargala said of the ill-fated encounter with deputies that left her sister dead. “Obviously, she didn’t come out of it well.”
Bargala, who is currently studying law at Seattle University, said she wasn’t sure if Davis owned a handgun, but said her sister did have a hunting rifle.
“She loved hunting,” she said, adding that Davis had recently killed an elk and a deer and divided the meat among her family. “I still have elk in my freezer.”
Seattle lawyer Ryan Dreveskracht said he’s all too familiar with the tragic outcomes that often follow police encounters with civilians who suffer from mental illness. Dreveskracht is currently representing the family of Cecil Lacy Jr., a mentally ill Tulalip tribal member who died of cardiac arrhythmia after police used a stun gun on him, the Seattle Times reports.
Lacy was reportedly unarmed at the time of the shooting.
The lawyer contended that the officers in both incidents could have made a better effort to de-escalate the situation(s), but didn’t. Dreveskracht said that while the Seattle Police Department now trains its officers in de-escalation techniques, other departments across the state don’t.
The two sheriff’s deputies involved in the shooting have since been placed on administrative leave, KOMO News reports. Bargala said the family is now working to figure out where Davis’ children will go. Currently, they’re staying with relatives.
Davis’ shooting happened the same week NYPD officers fatally shot a schizophrenic Black woman in the Bronx. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the shooting and the actions of the officers “unacceptable.”