BAYTOWN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – A Texas police officer fatally shot an unarmed woman moments after she is heard saying “I’m pregnant” in an altercation captured on video.
The department has learned that Pamela Shantay Turner, 44, was not pregnant, according to Baytown Police Lt. Steve Dorris, who declined to elaborate on how officials came to the conclusion. Autopsy results have not been released.
The Medical Examiner still has not confirmed or denied the woman was pregnant.
The shooting happened late Monday at an apartment complex in Baytown, about 25 miles east of Houston.
Dorris said the officer was patrolling an apartment complex and attempted to arrest the woman, later identified as Turner, because he knew she had outstanding warrants.
Cell phone video shows Turner yelling at the officer: “I’m walking! I’m actually walking to my house!” She later says the officer is “harassing” her.
The video shows the officer, who has not been identified, apparently trying to handcuff Turner, but she breaks free. The officer then fires his Taser stun gun, and the woman slowly drops to the ground.
The woman is on the ground and appears to reach toward the officer when she seems to be heard saying “I’m pregnant.” Moments later he fires five shots, killing her.
The officer who shot Turner, an 11 year veteran with the department, did not suffer serious injuries.
“It’s a tragic event for everybody involved,” Dorris said. “Of course, our hearts go out to the family of the deceased as well as our officer.”
Dorris said police were aware of the video circulating on social media and that investigators want to talk to the person who took the video, because he or she was a witness to the shooting.
The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is assisting in the investigation.
“But when you leave them no choice, you’ve taken their Taser from them and you’re trying to use it on the officer…she left him no choice,” said Catherine Smit-Torrez, a private investigator and former police chief.
Smit-Torres said she was initially concerned hearing the woman was unarmed and shouting she was pregnant.
She became armed though, Smit-Torrez said, when she grabbed the officer’s Taser. From his initial presences, to arrest attempt to use of non-lethal force, to then firing his gun, she said it appears the officer acted appropriately.
“This officer, in any chain of escalation, use of force escalation, I believe that the officer did what he had to do.”
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)