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    Hawthorne woman is killed in front of her daughter in standoff early Sunday


    http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/arti...?showAll=y&c=y

    Hawthorne woman is killed in standoff early Sunday

    The 21-year-old allegedly held her 4-year-old daughter hostage and stabbed police with a box cutter.

    By Megan Bagdonas
    Staff Writer

    A Hawthorne woman who officers say barricaded herself in her mother's apartment while threatening to harm the daughter she held hostage was shot to death by police in front of the child early Sunday.

    Elaine Coleman, 21, died in front of her 4-year-old daughter.

    Coleman's mother, Mertis Curry, called 911 after she and neighbors were unable to calm the hysterical woman, who was screaming about stolen money and making violent threats.

    Hawthorne police arrived at about 1 a.m. Officers broke down the door and twice ordered Coleman "to put the girl down," according to witness Lisa Scott, a neighbor who had been inside the home on the 14400 block of Lemoli Avenue.

    Collins attacked and stabbed two officers with a box cutter, and police used a Taser gun before shooting her twice, according to witnesses and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

    Four-year-old Latiera Corry emerged from the room with blood from cuts on her arms and leg and hid under the dining room table.

    She and the two officers were taken to a local hospital for treatment. Each received about 30 stitches, according to the Sheriff's Department.

    Curry and her neighbors don't know what spurred the violent outburst in the woman, whom they described as mild-mannered.

    "She was going crazy. No one ever saw her like that; she was normally so quiet," said Liara Scott, one of the neighbors who tried to calm Coleman down. "It's like a big mystery as to what triggered it."

    Neighbors knew Coleman as a demure, petite woman who walked her child to school every morning.

    At about 10 p.m. Saturday night, Coleman had dinner with her mother. Curry, 56, said her daughter talked about her boyfriend and wanting to have another child. She seemed upset and was acting paranoid, her mother said.

    "She told me to lock all the windows and the doors, and if anyone comes knocking, please don't answer it," Curry said.

    Coleman's behavior got more erratic and enraged as the night went on. She began yelling to herself and sometimes on the phone that somebody stole her money and that she was hungry, thirsty and needed to feed her baby.

    "No one could make any sense of it," said her mother, who mentioned that Coleman had been in special education classes as a student at Locke High School because she had learning disabilities.

    By midnight, Coleman had barricaded herself and her child inside an upstairs bedroom of her mother's apartment, where she and her daughter stayed when not living with her boyfriend.

    "She said, `Don't come in here, because if you do it's on, it's cracking,"' her mother recalled. "I don't know what she meant by that."

    Curry was unaware of any drug or alcohol problems her daughter might have had, but thought maybe her daughter was on something because she seemed to be hallucinating.

    "I wondered had she smoked something or took something or maybe someone put something in her drink," Curry said.

    The Sheriff's Department would not comment on whether they thought Coleman had been under the influence of a controlled substance. A toxicology test will be included with the coroner's report.

    A few neighbors who heard the commotion that night came inside the home and tried to reason with Coleman, but when nothing could stop her violent tirades and accusations that somebody stole her money, Curry called the police.

    "One mind told me to just push the door open and go in, but my other mind said, `Don't do that, there's no telling what she'll do,"' Curry said.

    When the Hawthorne police arrived, officers tried to talk to Coleman through the door, but she became even more vehement and irrational and began threatening her child's life.

    "She said if anyone comes in that door she'd kill them and her kid," said witness and neighbor Lisa Scott.

    At least two officers then broke down the door and twice ordered Coleman to put down her baby, according to witnesses.

    Coleman attacked the officers with a box cutter and stabbed both men. Officers used a Taser gun to subdue her, but it had no effect, according to the Sheriff's Department.
    Police then shot two rounds.

    Coleman was pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses said she was shot in the stomach.

    Her 4-year-old daughter ran from the room.

    "Latiera came out and was under the dining room table holding onto the leg of the table like for dear life," Lisa Scott said. "She had blood on her."

    Sheriff's homicide detectives are investigating the shooting. Hawthorne police are not releasing the names of the officers involved in the shooting. The two officers will be put on administrative leave in accordance with the Hawthorne Police Department policy for officers involved in a shooting, Lt. Julian Catano said.

    Curry and Latiera returned to the home at about 11 a.m. Sunday. The girl was wrapped in a white blanket and taken to a neighbor's home to watch cartoons while Curry grieved with neighbors.

    "I called the cops because I thought they could talk her down," Curry said. "I didn't think they'd kill her. They didn't need to kill her."

    In the apartment, blood smears could be seen on the walls and carpet of the stairway leading up to where Coleman was killed.
    Inside the room, the carpet was still stained from dark pools of blood where she died. A stripped bed, an empty car seat, a wooden chair and a Cabbage Patch doll were all that was left of Coleman's barricade.

    Curry said she did not know whether there would be a memorial service for her daughter because she can't afford to have a funeral.

    But before she can worry about that, Curry said she needed to clean up her house.

    "I'm not afraid of death," she said about having to sleep across the hall from where her daughter died. "Right now I just need to clean up the blood."

    megan.bagdonas@dailybreeze.com


    Choose The Right. When you're doing whats right, then you have nothing to worry about.

    Not a LEO

    In memory of Sgt. Howard K. Stevenson 1965 - 2005. Ceres Police Dept.
    In memory of Robert N. Panos 1955 - 2008 Ceres Police Dept.









  2. #2
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    Some people never cease to amaze me. "They didn't need to kill her."

    Come on, they tased her and it didn't work, be glad the officers didn't shoot her in the head. A child's life was in danger, and she attacked the officers that responded. Good Grief!


    Choose The Right. When you're doing whats right, then you have nothing to worry about.

    Not a LEO

    In memory of Sgt. Howard K. Stevenson 1965 - 2005. Ceres Police Dept.
    In memory of Robert N. Panos 1955 - 2008 Ceres Police Dept.









 

 

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