A Washington woman who was five months pregnant was shot and killed by King County Sheriff’s deputies Friday night on Muckleshoot tribal lands. Now her loved ones want to know why.
The dead woman’s former foster sister Danielle Bargala told the Seattle Times that Renee Davis, 23, had struggled with depression and mental illness before her fatal run-in with police on Friday.
“It’s really upsetting because it was a wellness check,” said Bargala, who is a Seattle University law student. “Obviously, she didn’t come out of it well.”
A relative of Davis called the sheriff’s department on Friday after receiving an alarming text from the mother of three. Police records show that officers responding to a call about a potential suicide encountered a woman with a handgun and two small children in the house when they arrived at 6:30 in the evening.
What happened next, Bargala said, is still in question, but at the end, Davis — who was an avid outdoorswoman of Native American heritage — lay dead of gunshot wounds. The children, 2 and 3 years old, were unharmed. Davis’ third child, a 5-year-old boy, was at a neighbor’s house.
Bargala said she didn’t know that Davis owned a handgun, but she did own a hunting rifle.
“She loved hunting,” she said.
Davis loved working outdoors. She participated in a fisheries training program and recently had been working as a teacher’s aide.
“She was such a soft person,” said Bargala. The two grew up in a family of seven children. Bargala’s parents had three children of their own and took in four foster children.
Seattle lawyer Ryan Dreveskracht told the Times that unfortunately, these scenarios are all too common when police interact with people struggling with mental illness.
Dreveskracht is currently representing the family of a mentally ill man who was killed by police. He said that while Seattle Police are being trained in de-escalation techniques, most police forces in the state are not.