A police officer outside Houston fatally shot a woman during a scuffle over a Taser at an apartment complex late Monday, authorities said. The incident was captured on social media and circulated overnight, CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV reported. In the video, the woman can be heard shouting "I'm pregnant" multiple times before she is shot.
Baytown Police Lt. Steve Dorris on Tuesday afternoon identified the woman as Pamela Turner and said his department has confirmed Turner was not pregnant. He didn't immediately respond to questions from CBS News over whether the determination was made through an autopsy. However, family members told KHOU that Turner was not pregnant. Turner's niece told the station the woman had mental health issues and had had prior run-ins with Baytown police.
Dorris earlier said an officer on patrol saw the 45-year-old Turner, whom the officer had encountered before. He knew the woman had outstanding warrants, so he approached her to arrest her.
Dorris said a struggle started and the officer was forced to use his Taser. But as he was trying to detain the woman, she managed to get control of the Taser and used it on the officer, who then fired several shots, hitting the woman at least once.
The officer tried to help Turner, but she was pronounced dead at the scene, Dorris said.
Witness video obtained by KHOU-TV shows the Turner on the ground when about five gunshots can be heard.
Dorris said a preliminary investigation found it was necessary for the officer to use deadly force. "If somebody takes your Taser away from you and starts tasing you, there's a very good likelihood that this is going to escalate and get very bad for the officer from there," Dorris told reporters.
Witnesses who saw the woman frequently walking her dog in the area said they believe she may have had mental issues.
"Sometimes you would see her, you know, get into it with people around the apartments, but nothing too, you know, bad," Raquel Cuellar said. "It's just, you know, just typical her. She's not a bad person. She didn't hurt nobody."
One angry woman tweeted that the officer tasered the unarmed woman twice and shot at her five times while she was on the ground. Another tweeted that less-lethal force would have sufficed, and claimed the woman had mental issues.
Police have not named the officer, who was placed on leave. Dorris said the officer is an 11-year veteran of the force.
"This is the first shooting the officer has been involved in," Dorris said, adding that he wasn't seriously hurt.
Dorris said he believes the officer was wearing a body cam, but the video will not immediately be released as the investigation continues.
When asked about the video going around on Snapchat and Facebook Messenger, Dorris said detectives want to speak with the witness who recorded it.
"It's unfortunate that somebody takes a tragic incident like this and starts posting it on social media," said Dorris. "It's extremely disrespectful for everybody involved. But that's the day and age we live in with social media."
Nikki Battiste contributed reporting.