Authorities released on Wednesday a graphic video showing a California deputy fatally shooting a woman in front of her two young kids as she charged toward another officer with a knife.
Police received a 9-1-1 call on Feb. 4 from a concerned resident who spotted 33-year-old Ariella Crawford walking along a road in Alta Sierra with her two young kids. Police said the caller was concerned for the children’s safety as there was “significant traffic” in the area.
A second call came in minutes later from a homeowner who said Crawford and her children were at her door, released 9-1-1 audio shows. The caller said Crawford told her that someone was following her but not to call the cops, according to audio. The homeowner added that Crawford said someone was “hurting” her kids and that Crawford was “really scared.”
The 9-1-1 operator later informed the homeowner that the first 9-1-1 caller was following Crawford out of fear for the children’s safety but it is unclear whether that was who Crawford was referring to.
Dash-cam footage shows a patrol car pulling up behind Crawford and her two young children.
Deputy Caleb Toderean was first on the scene, according to police. Toderean immediately tells Crawford “you’re not in trouble or anything like that,” and asks her to drop the knife she was brandishing, according to video footage.
Deputy Matthew Harrison can then be seen walking in front of the camera after having arrived on scene.
Crawford tells the officers in the video that she “knows what you did to my babies” as she begins to walk toward Toderean while her two children stand behind her.
“I’m not going to touch your babies but I need you to put that knife away,” Toderean can be heard saying. He then continues to reiterate that he is not going to hurt Crawford’s children as she motions them to step aside.
“If something happens to me and my babies, everyone in the whole world will know,” Crawford begins shouting.
Crawford can then be heard screaming inaudibly as she begins to move toward the officers with a knife in her hand. At one point one of Crawford’s children steps in front of her and throws their hands up apparently screaming “stop!”
At one point Crawford appears to walk toward Toderean to reach her young children. Harrison can be seen brandishing a taser gun as he walks in front of the patrol vehicle, dash-cam footage shows. Toderean can be heard telling Crawford’s young child to back up while video footage shows Toderean himself backing up from Crawford. (RELATED: Body Camera Footage Shows Baltimore Police Officers In An Insane Shootout)
Crawford begins backing away before telling Toderean to “kill me now.” Toderean assures her he does not want to kill her, according to dash-cam footage. Crawford, however, then quickly turns around toward Harrison and charges before Harrison deploys his taser, dash-cam footage shows.
Toderean immediately fires shots at Crawford who then falls to the ground. Officers could still be heard telling her to drop the knife as her young kids wail in the background.
Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon said the deputies immediately issued medical attention after Crawford dropped her weapon but that Crawford succumbed to her injuries at the hospital.
“For reasons yet unknown, Ms. Crawford was very upset with the presence of our deputies, despite one of them immediately saying she was not in any trouble,” Moon said.
Moon said that in the interest of transparency the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office will review the footage to determine whether the shooting was “justified and lawful.”
Crawford’s family criticized the department for the incident and said they should not have killed Crawford, according to ABC 10.
“What happen last Thursday is an indication of us as women and how we are not safe,” Lea Schenk, a spokesperson for the Crawford family said, according to the report. “How we are not protected.”
Schenk said Crawford’s family confirmed she had been struggling with mental health issues and caring for her children alone, according to CBS 13. Schenk said mental health professionals should have responded to the scene, not a sheriff’s deputy, according to the report.
“The response is not what’s needed for that call. This was a perfect example of [Crawford] needing something else.”
Deputy District Attorney Chris Walsh, a spokesperson for the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office, called the incident “tragic” according to ABC 10.
“The loss of human life is tragic,” Walsh said. “Regardless of whether the shooting is justified, or not, the emotional trauma is worsened in a situation where a young woman is shot and killed in front of her children.”
The Daily Caller has reached out to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office but did not receive a response at the time of publication.