Autistic woman behind viral video shot, killed by Mesa policePosted: Updated:
A young woman killed during an officer-involved shooting Thursday morning was behind a viral video she posted that made headlines over the summer
The woman has been identified Danielle Jacobs, 24. .
Mesa police said they plan to hold a news conference at 1:30 p.m. Friday to discuss "new, developing information" in the shooting and things the Mesa police force is doing "to assist in dealing with and interacting with those with mental illness," according to Mesa police spokesman Esteban Flores.
The shooting happened near Brown and the Red Mountain Freeway.
Detective Esteban Flores with the Mesa Police Department said around 11 a.m., police received multiple calls about a suicidal woman.
When officers made contact with her, she stated she had a knife and was going to hurt herself. Flores said she came at both officers with the knife, and they fired their duty weapons.
"She had one knife that we know of, she had something else we're not sure what it was, the officers said it was dark inside the room," Flores said. "When she made contact with them she approached them with the knife, extended it out, and they felt threatened."
Flores said Jacobs was transported to a hospital and underwent surgery. Later in the evening we received word she did not make it.
Video of a self-harm meltdown
In June, Jacobs posted a video that went viral on YouTube. In it, Jacobs is having what she described as a self-harm meltdown while her Rottweiler, Samson, attempted to help her out of it.
[ORIGINAL VIDEO: Click/tap to watch the video Jacobs posted]
The 24-year-old said those meltdowns were due to Asperger's syndrome. She was diagnosed with it in 2013. It is a disorder on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum.
In a post along with the video, Jacobs said she shared the raw moment to show what it is like to live with Asperger's and raise awareness about the disorder.
But it was Samson's ability to help calm her down that melted hearts. Jacobs rescued Samson from HALO in Phoenix.
"Danielle was volunteering through HALO at the time and she fell in love and played with Samson and the bond couldn't be broken so she decided to adopt Samson," HALO Outreach Coordinator Erin Denmark told reporter Amanda Goodman in June."She was rescued by Samson, really."
After adopting him Jacobs began training him, transforming the 4-year-old stray shelter dog into a service dog.
Jason Volentine talked to Jacobs' mother Thursday evening. Sampson is now with Jacobs' family. Her mom calls the dog "the last piece of Danielle they have."
Heather Allen, the president and CEO of HALO, knew Jacobs. Allen said she received some concerning emails from Jacobs Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Allen said Jacobs asked her to take care of Sampson if something happened to her.
Allen called the police to check on Jacobs and was told officers were already on their way.
"Next I heard, she had been shot," Allen said.
Officers not wearing body cameras
Flores said they have one prior call involving suicide threats from the woman, approximately two years ago. No other details about that call were provided.
Flores said two other people were home, where the woman rents a room, at the time.
"Those two other people are in their 70s, they know the 24-year-old female, they didn't know she threatening suicide," Flores said.
No officers were hurt. The incident is under investigation. Flores said the officers involved were not wearing body cameras.
"It kind of freaks me out because I have a 2-month old son," neighbor Emily Clark said. "It's a weird feeling"
Officer involved shooting. All officers ok. Media staging 8000 E Encanto. PIO en route.— Mesa Police Dept. (@MesaPD) February 4, 2016
Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. Amanda Goodman, Jason Volentine and Catherine Holland contributed to this report.