LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — The woman shot Saturday by Long Beach Police was “a harmless, very harmless individual,” said her family.
Long Beach Police, however, called 31-year-old Adeline Arroyo, a lethal threat.
Her family said she was holding a harmless BB gun when police confronted her Saturday morning and asked her to drop the weapon.
Her family told CBS2’ Cristy Fajardo that Arroyo was shot 2-3 times.
The video of the woman being shot has the family quite upset. Arroyo appears to be holding a gun. Police tell her to drop it. She doesn’t. They open fire.
About Arroyo, an aunt says, “She had a hard life.” But repeated her assertion that Arroyo was harmless.
“She liked to go to the riverbed and just, you know, shoot at cans,” said the aunt.
Long Beach Police released a photo of the weapon. They aren’t yet saying whether the gun is real or a replica or a BB gun.
But Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell said his officers had no choice but to shoot. He also said rubber bullets were not an option.
“If the person has a handgun and they point that in your direction, less lethal is not appropriate, you have a lethal threat,” said McDonnell.
Arroyo’s family said she has been struggling with mental illness and hearing voices.
This morning her aunt went to the bathroom and while she was out of the room, Arroyo slipped out. That is why she was wearing pajamas.
“The mental evaluation team spoke with the suspect for over an hour. During the negotiation the suspect brandished a weapon,” said McDonnell.
Today’s shooting, the 19th officer involved shooting in Long Beach in 2013, has the family convinced police need more training — especially when dealing with the mentally ill.
“She had a nervous breakdown. She was going through some things… she just wasn’t well yet. But she loved her family very much,” said Arroyo’s aunt.
The aunt said mental illness has cost Arroyo her daughter, her husband and her home.
Police would not say how many officers were involved in the shooting today but said each would be taken off patrol for 72 hours as they undergo psychological counseling.
The police chief is vowing a complete and thorough investigation, reports Fajardo.