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Mentally Ill Mother Of Young Child Is Killed By Police in Torrance, CA

On Monday October 31, while people were celebrating Halloween, 39-year-old Michelle Shirley was killed after driving erratically in Torrance, California. Around 230 p.m. on Halloween Day, police in Torrance, CA received several 9-1-1 calls about a possible drunk driver. After locating the reported vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road in the area of Arlington and Post avenues, a short chase ensued. The police then used their squad cars to box the suspect’s vehicle in around Cabrillo Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard. As the video shows the young woman’s grey car surrounded by police cars, Ms. Shirley’s car can be seen lurching forward and then reversing quickly. Police officers are then seen immediately jumping out of their cars and repeatedly firing into Ms. Shirley’s car.

Ms. Shirley’s Car With Visible Bullet Holes

Michelle Shirley’s family told media outlets that she had suffered from bipolar disorder for over ten years and she chronicled her own struggle in a YouTube video back in 2011. “I started sleeping less and less, I started having an overload of creative ideas,” she said. “I did strange things, I spent a bunch of money. I shaved my head, I couldn’t focus. I was told I had bipolar disorder.” The video which was part of a mental health campaign called, “It’s Up to Us”, Ms. Shirley talked about the struggles of motherhood and the stress of attending law school at Loyola University in Chicago.

After Ms. Shirley’s death, her mother Debra said, “I don’t know what was going through her head as she was driving or trying to get away. I can’t even imagine. But why did they have to kill her?” The police department said they had feared for public safety because it was around the time children would be leaving a local elementary and middle school, which was located near-by. The shooting is being investigated by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office along with the local police department’s Special Operations Bureau.

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