CALIFORNIA—On Monday, October 31, a woman with bipolar disorder was fatally shot by police officers after a speed chase in Torrance, CA at a gas station located at Cabrillo Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard.
According to reports, authorities received several calls from people reporting that there was an “erratic and reckless “ driver on the street. Michelle Lee Shirley, 39, a mother of a 14-year-old son and an aspiring attorney was behind the wheel. Cellphone video captured the incident depicting Shirley’s vehicle accelerating toward police cruisers before officers fired multiple shots. She was taken to UCLA Medical Center where she was later pronounced dead from injuries she sustained, the Daily Breeze reported.
Shirley’s family believes she was off her medication. Shirley’s sister, Karen, saw her a few days before the shooting. “Her behavior was out of the ordinary,” the sister stated.
Michelle suffered from bipolar disorder for several years. In an online video for the “It’s Up To Us” campaign, Shirley discusses dealing with bipolar disorder while juggling school, work, and raising her child.
“I owned my own condo and it was my last year of law school but again, I was working full-time and now I had a 3 year old son to take care of… I was barely getting any sleep and those crazy ideas started coming back but this time I didn’t have any friends or family around to notice and help me. I ended up setting a fire in my condo because I had this crazy idea that my vent was a fireplace,” Shirley states in the video.
According to her family, Shirley recently moved to Los Angeles to work as an Uber driver to make extra money. It is not yet known whether Shirley was off her medication during the speed chase. A toxicology report is being conducted and officials from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the Torrance Special Operations Bureau are conducting an investigation into the police shooting.