Renee Davis, 23, had been struggling with depression when King County deputies turned up at her home on Friday night. The reservation is located 30 miles south east of Seattle in Washington state.
Police received a call from a friend who was worried when Davis had texted that she was in a bad way earlier during the day, according to Danielle Bargala, her sister.
“They [the deputies] tried repeatedly to get somebody to come to the door, nobody did. They could see the two kids running around inside the house,” said King County Sheriff Sgt. Cindi West, according to KOMO news.
The sheriff’s office said when the deputies entered the home, they found Davis with a handgun, and fired multiple shots, hitting Davis. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The two children were unharmed.
“It’s really upsetting because it was a wellness check,” Bargala said of the encounter between deputies and her sister.“Obviously, she didn’t come out of it well.”
Davis was a teacher’s aide in the tribe’s Head Start pre-school program, and friends described her as a kind and gentle person.
An investigation is underway as to what caused the officers to shoot.
Davis’ sister said she and other family members have a lot of questions about happened. She said the children were ages two and three, and there is a third child that didn’t live with the mother.
Bargala told the Seattle Times she didn’t know if her sister owned a handgun, although Davis did have a hunting rifle.
“She loved hunting,” Bargala said.
Davis had recently killed an elk and a deer, and butchered the animals herself and divided the meat among her family.
“I still have elk in my freezer,” Bargala said.
Bargala said she had never known Davis to be violent, or even to discipline her kids harshly.
“She was such a soft person,” Bargala said
According to KOMO news, the two deputies, an eight-year veteran assigned to the Muckleshoot Reservation and a three-year King County deputy, have been placed on paid administrative leave, while detectives investigate.
In a related story, Seattle lawyer Ryan Dreveskracht told the Seattle Times Davis’ encounter with police is familiar.
He is representing the family of Cecil Lacy Jr., a mentally ill Tulalip tribal member who died of cardiac arrhythmia after law-enforcement officers used a stun gun on him last September.
Lacy was not armed.