Content warning: This article contains descriptions of violence and graphic footage.
A witness to a recent police shooting in the Kansas City area says the woman who was shot told officers she was pregnant prior to them opening fire on her.
Per a report from regional outlet KCTV, 26-year-old Leonna Hale was shot by police during their response to an alleged carjacking call. Officers with the Kansas City Police Department in Missouri are said to have been responding to a prior dispatch from police in Kansas City, Kansas about the alleged carjacking, at which point they are said to have been given license plate info.
The vehicle in question was then spotted in the parking lot of a Family Dollar, with police claiming the male driver “ran away northeast” and was later apprehended. The woman, since named as Hale, is alleged to have “fled into the parking lot.” In initial reports, she’s said to have been seriously injured and taken to a nearby hospital. She’s reportedly since been described as being in stable condition.
Providing a bit more context, meanwhile, is a separate report from the Kansas City Star that includes a number of comments from a witness. “She did not pull out a weapon on them,” the witness, identified as Shédanja, told the Star. “She did not even have a stick in her hand.”
The witness, who also shared footage of some of the aftermath, said she was at the store with her children when she first heard police screaming for two people to exit the vehicle. At one point, she said, three officers chased after a man when he exited the car.
When the woman exited the same car with her hands up, police are said to have told her to get on the ground. Per the witness, it’s at this point the woman informed the officers she was pregnant and could not get down to the ground. Later, the witness told the Star, the woman informed police there was a gun inside the vehicle.
At another point, she began “backing toward a fence” when officers, weapons drawn, approached her. Shortly after, the witness said, police shot at the woman multiple times—according to the witness, five times.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol—who’s now investigating the shooting—is cited in multiple reports as having claimed a gun belonging to a suspect was found in the parking lot. Additional information on the investigation had not been made publicly available at the time of this writing.
Complex has reached out to the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Kansas City Police Department for comment.