Los Angeles County sheriff deputy Ty Shelton shot and killed Niani Finlayson, a woman who had called 911 to report being attacked by a former boyfriend on Dec. 4, The Guardian reports. Records show Shelton had killed another person in similar circumstances three years ago. Finlayson, 27, called police and “reported that her boyfriend would not leave her alone and then screaming and sounds of a struggle could be heard.” When deputies arrived at the apartment in the northern region of L.A. County, they could hear screaming. Finlayson was inside with her nine-year-old daughter and had been injured by her ex-boyfriend and wanted him removed. The exact circumstances that led to the fatal shooting are unclear and officials have declined to release body-camera footage.
The Sheriff's Department alleged at Finlayson had a knife and was threatening her boyfriend, at which point deputy Shelton opened fire. The family disputed the police account, saying Finlayson was clearly a victim of domestic violence who needed help and posed no threat to the officers. The coroner said she died from “multiple gunshot wounds”. Finlayson was a mother of two. Her daughter Xaisha witnessed the shooting. “The police lied that my mom was threatening them,” Xaisha said at a press conference on Thursday with her grandparents, calling for Shelton to be prosecuted. “She was my best friend. She was always there for me. It’s unbelievable that she’s gone and she’s not coming back. I miss my mom.” The girl said her two-year-old sister continues to ask where their mother is and she doesn’t know how to respond. Finlayson’s family filed a legal claim against the sheriff’s department on Thursday, alleging wrongful death, assault and civil rights violations.