A young Washington state mother was shot and killed by King County sheriff’s deputies who were supposed to be conducting a wellness check Friday night, the Seattle Times reports.
Renee Davis, 23, was five months pregnant when she was killed at her home on Muckleshoot tribal land, and now her family is demanding answers.
According to Davis’ foster sister, Danielle Bargala, the mother of three had struggled with depression and had texted someone earlier Friday night to say that she was not doing well.
That individual contacted law enforcement, who went to Davis’ home shortly after 6:30 p.m. to check on her welfare.
Bargala, a Seattle University law student, told the Seattle Times that what happened next has left the family with a lot of questions.
According to KOMO News, King County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cindi West said that deputies tried to get someone to come to the door but nobody did. When deputies entered the home, they found Davis armed with a handgun, West said.
Somehow, deputies ended up firing multiple shots, hitting Davis, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Her two children who were home at the time—ages 2 and 3—were not physically hurt. Davis’ third child, a 5-year-old, was at the home of a family friend at the time of the incident.
Bargala told the Times that she did not know if her sister had a handgun, though she acknowledged that Davis did own a hunting rifle.
“She loved hunting,” Bargala told the news site, recounting how Davis had recently killed an elk and deer before butchering the animals herself and sharing the meat with her family.
“I still have elk in my freezer,” she said.
“It’s really upsetting because it was a wellness check,” Bargala added of her sister’s encounter with law enforcement. “Obviously, she didn’t come out of it well.”
Bargala described her sister as an avid outdoors enthusiast who participated in a fisheries training program and had more recently worked as a teacher’s aide in a Head Start preschool program.
Bargala said she had never known her sister to be violent or even discipline her children harshly.
The two sisters grew up in a family of seven kids, including two of Davis’ biological sisters and other foster children who were taken in by Bargala’s parents. Davis came to live with the family on the tribal lands when she was in elementary school.
“She was such a soft person,” Bargala said.
According to KOMO News, two deputies, an eight-year veteran assigned to the Muckleshoot Reservation and a three-year veteran with the King County force, have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
A candlelight vigil was held outside Davis’ home Saturday night, Heavy reports.
“My community is confused. We have our own police department in which we know our deputies personally. I never thought this would happen so close to home,” Hunter Vaiese, a member of the tribal community, told Heavy. “She needed help, but she got bullets. It doesn’t make sense to me.”