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Fatal police shooting of mentally ill Somali-American woman probed

Poiced and fire vehicles block access to spot where police shot woman to death in Atlanta suburb of Johns Creek on April 28, 2018

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- The family of a woman shot and killed by police in this Atlanta suburb is looking for answers. They say a loved one was mentally ill and they were trying to get help for her when they called 911, reports CBS Atlanta affiliate WGCL-TV.

The shooting happened just after 7 a.m. Saturday in Johns Creek. Police responded to a call of a person with knife.

The Georgia Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Awad Law Firm are now representing the family of 36 year-old Somali-American Shukri Said, and say they'll conduct a civil rights investigation.

"They called for help and their hope was she would receive help, that she would be taken to a hospital to be treated for her illness. They were obviously mortified and horrified to learn that Shukri was not helped that day, she was shot and she was killed," said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR-Georgia.

The groups representing the family said Said had bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and on the morning of the shooting, she heard voices. She grabbed a knife from the kitchen and left the house, not listening to family members, they said. They said her sister made it clear to 911 that Shukri was mentally ill.

"We were told there was a female on scene who was armed with a knife and had attempted to cut someone at the residence," Johns Creek Police Captain Chris Byers says.

When officers found Said near an intersection, she didn't respond to their commands to drop a knife she was holding, the GBI said. Officers used a stun gun and non-lethal projectile, but Said still didn't drop the knife and two officers fired their guns, hitting her, the GBI said.

She was taken to Emory Johns Creek Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. 

The GBI is investigating the shooting and will turn over the results of its investigation to the Fulton County district attorney for review.

Through their attorney, the family said it's possible police reacted as strongly as they did because the woman wears a head covering.

The attorneys representing the family say that while it's possible law enforcement did everything by the book, they want a thorough investigation to prove that. 

"To expect a mentally ill person to respond to commands is illogical and the police officers knew that. Now we're not saying that they were unjustified in their shooting because we don't know the details, there's a lot of things we don't know," said attorney Ibrahim Awad. 

Meanwhile, the officers involved in the incident are on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Read more: http://www.cbs46.com/story/38064883/woman-injured-in-officer-involved-shooting#ixzz5EFKGLpjI

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- A law firm and a Muslim civil rights group say they plan to conduct a civil rights investigation after police fatally shot a Georgia woman.

The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Awad Law Firm said in a news release Sunday that they had agreed to represent the family of 36-year-old Shukri Ali Said, who died Saturday. They say Said was mentally ill.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said preliminary information indicates police in Johns Creek, an Atlanta suburb, responded around 7:13 a.m. Saturday to a report of a woman threatening a family member with a knife.

When officers found Said near an intersection, she didn't respond to their commands to drop a knife she was holding, the GBI said. Officers used a stun gun and non-lethal projectile, but Said still didn't drop the knife and two officers fired their guns, hitting her, the GBI said.

The GBI is investigating the shooting and will turn over the results of its investigation to the Fulton County district attorney for review.

CAIR-Georgia and the Awad Law Firm said they will help Said's family figure out how and why the shooting happened and whether her civil rights were violated.

"Shukri Said was and is loved by her family members, who called 911 out of love for her, not fear of her," CAIR-Georgia executive director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said in a news release. "We do not yet know all of the facts related to this incident. What we do know for sure is that mental illness should never be a death sentence."