An eyewitness said Kansas City, Missouri police shot an unarmed pregnant woman multiple times as she tried to flee.
“They fired five times,” said the witness, who only gave his first name, Shedanja. Kansas City Star. “I remember seeing her hit the ground and I froze.”
The injured woman, who is black, was suspected of carrying out a carjacking with a male accomplice. KCTV identified her as Leonna Hale, 26. She is still alive, but suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital, where she is in stable condition.
Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) officers confronted the two suspects in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store on Friday, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP). The male suspect reportedly jumped out of the car and fled, but Ms Hale stayed and raised her hands.
“She didn’t pull a gun on them,” Shedanja told the Star. “She didn’t even have a stick in her hand.”
According to Shedanja, officers repeatedly ordered Ms Hale to lie down, but she explained she couldn’t because she was pregnant.
As they argued, Ms Hale told police there was a gun in the car. Eventually, she began to back up towards a fence, and the police reportedly approached her with their weapons drawn.
Seemingly panicked, the woman finally turned around and tried to run away. After just three steps, Shedanja said, the police shot him.
“One, two, three, four, five,” recalls the witness as he counts the shots. “I remember it because it didn’t stop.”
In a video Shedanja shared with the Starthe woman is lying on the ground with her hands behind her back and what appears to be blood on her shirt.
“They handcuffed her,” Shedanja said. “Why did they shoot him, y’all?”
Police said the Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating the incident.
“We never want to be in these kinds of situations,” KCPD acting chief Joseph Mabin said. told reporters. “Not the public, not the police department. Every time something like this happens, it’s a blight on our community. I want to assure the audience that the stage is safe. There is no permanent threat. Highway Patrol will investigate this incident. We are committed to being 100% transparent and fully cooperating with the Highway Patrol.
The Independent contacted both KCPD and MSHP for comment.