Charleena Lyles of Seattle was short and slight, weighing less than 100 pounds. That might be what confuses Domico Jones most about his sister’s death at the hands of police, the Seattle Times reports. “She was nobody that you would ever think would be intimidating to a police officer,” he said after two officers fatally shot Lyles, 30, in her apartment, on Sunday. They were responding to her report of an attempted burglary, and police say she displayed a knife. Three of her children were in the home, and she was pregnant, relatives said.
Family members believe race was a factor. Lyles was African American, while the two officers are white. Lyles had a hard childhood. She grew up around drugs, Jones said. Her mother died when she was a teenager, so she and her siblings relied on each other. Lyles worked as a cashier, cook and barista at a coffee shop. Court records and interviews with relatives paint a picture of someone trying hard to overcome tremendous challenges. 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.