BAYTOWN, Texas — A shaky cellphone video captured the moments before a Texas police officer shot and killed a woman who claimed she was pregnant.
Now people on social media are divided over whether the shooting was justified.
The officer was patrolling an apartment complex in the Houston suburb of Baytown late Monday when he saw a woman he knew from previous encounters, Baytown police said. A family member identified the woman as Pamela Shantay Turner.
The officer knew the 45-year-old woman had outstanding warrants and started trying to arrest her, police said.
A witness’ cellphone video showed the woman yelling at the officer:
“I’m walking! I’m actually walking to my house!” the woman screams at him. She later says the officer is “harassing” her.
The video shows the officer apparently trying to handcuff the woman, but she breaks free. The officer then fires his Taser stun gun, and the woman slowly drops to the ground.
A scuffle ensues. The woman keeps yelling “Why?” but the officer isn’t heard answering.
As the officer keeps trying to arrest the woman, she flails her arms and yells, “I’m pregnant!”
The struggle continued, and according to Baytown police, the woman “was able to gain control of the Taser and used it on the officer.”
In the video, the woman appears to reach for the officer, who stands back and fires five shots toward her.
Baytown police said the officer tried to give first aid to the woman, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
In a text message on Tuesday, police Lt. Steve Dorris said Turner was not pregnant.
Floyd Rubin, who shares two children with Turner, told CNN that police have not shared any details with his family about the shooting.
Turner’s sister Antoinette told CNN affiliate KPRC that the woman has two children in their 20s and three grandchildren.
The officer’s name has not been released, but Baytown police said he is an 11-year veteran of the department. He is on paid administrative leave as authorities investigate.
“The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is on scene and assisting in the investigation, as is normal in these types of incidents,” police said.
Police are asking the person who shot the cell phone video to come forward to help with the investigation, Lt. Steve Dorris said.
But he said it was “unfortunate” that the witness shared footage of the killing online.
“It’s unfortunate that somebody take a tragic incident like this and start posting it on social media,” he said. “That’s extremely disrespectful for everybody involved.”