Two officers who shot and killed a young woman coming at them with a knife weren’t aware she suffered mental illness, Mesa Police Detective Esteban Flores said at a news briefing Friday.
Another officer was in the process of retrieving a “less lethal option” from a patrol vehicle when Danielle Jacobs, 24, was shot and killed, Flores said.
One of the officers who opened fire was specially trained in crisis intervention.
Besides their service weapons, both officers were equipped with Tasers at the time, which they did not use, Flores said.
The victim's mother said Friday she was trying to make sense of what happened.
"My daughter died for asking for help," Jacobs' mom, Stacia, said Friday.
The shooting happened near Brown and the Red Mountain Freeway in East Mesa at around 11 a.m. after police received multiple calls about a suicidal woman.
[RAW VIDEO: Police briefing on deadly officer-involved shooting]
:Stacia Jacobs said her daughter was not posing a danger to the community.
"That she was in her own place. And regardless of what she was thinking, what she was doing, she wasn't posing a danger to the community. There has to be better way for law enforcement to respond and handle situations."
Flores said officers who were enroute had “no indication she was mentally ill. The only indication was she was going to hurt herself.”
"At that point, when we were responding, we didn't know who she was. Our information was she was going to hurt herself," Flores said.
He added officers had been at the home last year after Jacobs reported she was being harassed over the Internet, Flores said.
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 Thursday's incident, officers were met at the door by the victim's friend, who let them inside.
"Two officers attempted to talk to Danielle through an open door in a hallway they were standing in and Danielle came to the door holding a large chef's-style cutting knife," Flores said. "They told Danielle to drop the knife. She lunged and extended the knife at the officers at a close distance."
Flores said the officer felt threatened and opened fire, killing the young woman.
The two officers have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation continues.
"We express our sympathies to Danielle's family and friends," Flores said. "Whoever she was meant to be, that was taken, her mom said, wiping away tears.She said she will always remember her daughter's "zany sense of humor."
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