Shantel Davis, a 23-year-old Brooklyn woman, was shot dead by a New York City police officer on Thursday, the New York Daily News reports. She was unarmed when officer Phillip Atkins, 44, shot her in the chest during the chase.
The incident took place around 5:40 p.m. after cops saw Davis in a gray Toyota Camry she reportedly carjacked on June 5. The New York Police Department says that Davis ran several red lights and crossed a double yellow line to pass cars before running into a minivan.
When two cops approached the vehicle, Davis attempted to escape from the passenger side front door. When that attempt failed, she reportedly tried to kick the car in reverse. Officer Atkins got inside of the vehicle while Davis was trying to reverse it with his gun in hand.
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Here is how the rest of the incident unfolded, according to The News:
“He’s attempting with the other hand to shift the gear into park,” NYPD Spokesman Paul Browne said.
“When she’s hitting the gas, a single round was discharged from his firearm, striking the woman in the chest.”
Browne said it was too soon to say whether the detective, who has 12 years on the force, meant to pull the trigger or if it was an accident.
Witnesses described a scene of chaos before the shooting.
Dave McKenzie said he heard the cops yelling: “Get out! Get out!”
“They try to pull her out of the car, and she fights them,” McKenzie said, recalling the woman screaming, “Let me go! Let me go!”
“ ‘I don’t want to be killed! Don’t kill me!’ ” the woman yelled, McKenzie added.
Lorraine Preddie, 61, said that after she heard the crash, she saw the detective in a blue NYPD T-shirt with a shield around his neck.
“The next thing I saw was the police officer took his gun out and fired a shot,” she said.
Witnesses say it was clear that Davis was fatally wounded and that blood was gushing from her body.
“She was bleeding, and then she just dropped. She fell on the floor facedown. She was shaking and the blood was just going out of her,” said one woman who works at a nearby laundermat.
Davis was taken to Kings County Hospital where she died. New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams delivered the bad news to Davis’s family. The councilman says that he is not fully satisfied with the NYPD’s version of what happened, according to television station NY1.
“The police have a version of what happened. The streets have a different version. That version I don’t like. I’m not happy with what I’m hearing. So I’m going to wait a little while, try to gather some more information, and then figure out what the next movements are going to be,” said City Councilman Jumaane Williams.
Another politician agreed.
“Based on what I was told by the eyewitness, this appears to be a very questionable shooting,” said State Assemblyman Nick Perry.
According to sources gathered by The News, Davis had eight prior arrests. She was due in court today on attempted murder and kidnapping charges stemming from an alleged May 11 attack. WABC-TV/DT New York reports that Davis was out on bond and that her driver’s license was suspended.
The shooting is questionable because, despite her criminal past, eyewitnesses and local politicians do not believe deadly force was required to apprehend Davis.