Washington cops responding to a “wellness check” at the home of a pregnant Native American woman in Washington on Muckleshoot tribal lands shot and killed the mother of three, claiming she had a handgun when they arrived on Friday.
“It’s really upsetting because it was a wellness check,” said Danielle Bargala, Renee Davis’ foster sister.
“Obviously, she didn’t come out of it well.”
But her sister says Davis was an avid hunter who owned hunting rifles, but not a handgun, according to the New York Daily News.
One of 23-year-old Renee Davis’ relatives called the sheriff’s department after receiving a text from her saying she wasn’t doing well who might be suicidal and armed with a rifle.
Davis reportedly suffered an ongoing battle with depression.
Sheriff’s records show two deputies responding to the call encountered the young mother with a handgun and her two children inside the home when they arrived around 6:30 p.m. that evening.
Nobody answered when deputies knocked on the door of her home, but they said they could see two children inside.
The two deputies entered the home anyway to conduct a “wellness check” and reportedly found her with a handgun.
Both deputies fired into her several times, killing her. But the department has not released how many times she had been shot.
Medics arrived to the scene, but Davis was pronounced dead.
A spokeswoman for the King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Cindi West said, “deputies responded to the house. They knocked on the door; nobody answered. They tried repeatedly to get somebody to come to the door; nobody did. But they could see the two kids running around inside the house. They entered the house to do a welfare check to check on the woman that lived there. And, uh, she, um, they found her in the house and she had, uh, was armed with a handgun.”
“I don’t know what led up to the shooting,” West told Q13 News.
“She was such a soft person,” Danielle Bargala, a law student at Seattle University, told the NewsTribune, noting her sister was never violent with her children.
Davis, who was Native American, came to live with the Bargalas when she was in elementary school. She grew up in a family of seven children including her two biological sisters and other foster children taken in by the family who had three children of their own.
According to her sister, Davis had recently butchered an elk and a deer she killed while hunting and shared the meat with her family.
“I still have elk in my freezer,” Bargala said. “She loved hunting.”
Davis reportedly enjoyed working outdoors, participated in a fisheries program and had recently landed a job as a teacher’s aide at the Muckleshoot Early Learning Academy who posted on Facebook about the death of their teammate.
The Muckleshoot Reservation is about 35 miles southeast of Seattle and is part of the Coast Salish people’s of the Pacific Northwest who’s traditional territory and reservations are located near Auburn, Washington.
Muckleshoot currently has a contract with King’s County Sheriff’s Department to provide policing services on the reservation.
According to Heavy, a candlelight vigil was held outside Davis’ home where the fatal shooting occurred.
Native Americans make up just 0.8 percent of the population, but account for 1.9 percent of all police shootings, which is a higher rate than African-Americans who make up 13 percent of the population, but account for 26 percent of police-involved shooting deaths, according to the Lakota People’s Law Project.
Activists on social media spread the news of Davis’ death using the hashtag #NativeLivesMatter.
The names of the two sheriff deputies involved in Davis’ shooting have not been released.
Both were placed on paid administrative leave.
In July, PINAC covered the shooting of Native American woman Loreal Tsingine who was fatally shot by Winslow, Arizona cop Austin Shipley –a highly cited article.
According to reports, it’s unclear if either of the deputies were wearing body cameras.