( 4UMF NEWS ) Woman Fatally Shot By Police After Fleeing Cops:
Cops in southern California fatally shot a 39-year-old woman suspected of leading police on a car chase and ramming her already wrecked vehicle into a cruiser Monday afternoon.
Several 911 calls warned Torrance police of an “erratic and reckless driver” who fled the crash site with her side airbags still deployed following a wreck around 2:30 p.m., police said.
Cops boxed in the runaway driver — later identified as San Diego resident Michelle Lee Shirley — with their cruisers. She tried backing up but struck a vehicle, and then veered forward — prompting at least one of the officers to open fire.
A video recorded from across the street from the shooting shows Shirley creeping forward as the first gunshot is fired. More gunshots are heard as her vehicle speeds up and veers left, smashing into another black and white patrol car outside a gas station just after 2:30 p.m. about 16 miles south of Los Angeles.
Shirley was struck in a hail of police gunfire heard in the witness video and was rushed to a nearby hospital. She did not survive and it’s unclear how many times she was shot.
One police officer was hurt during the confrontation and was treated at a nearby hospital and then released, police said.
The shooting shocked relatives who said Shirley suffered from manic bipolar disorder.
“I don’t know what was going through her head as she was driving or trying to get away,” Shirley’s mother, Debra Shirley, told the Daily Breeze newspaper. “I can’t even imagine. But why did they have to kill her?”
Shirley recalled her decade-long struggle with the illness — that fired up hallucinations at times — in a video for a mental health campaign known as “It’s Up to Us” and said it started while studying law in San Diego.
“I started sleeping less and less,” Shirley said in the 2011 video. “I started having an overload of creative ideas one after another and I wasn’t completing any. I did strange things. One time I went out and just bought a bunch of plants and gave them away. I shaved my head.”
Shirley, the mother of a young boy, powered through her diagnosis but suffered another episode while obtaining her law degree from Loyola University in Chicago.
“I ended up setting a fire in my condo because I had this crazy idea that my vent was a fireplace,” she added.
It’s unclear if Shirley was taking her medication at the time of the fatal shooting Monday, her mother said. An autopsy and toxicology test is pending.
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