Last week, 17-year-old Kristiana Coignard walked into a police station in Longview, Texas, and was shot dead by two police officers in the waiting room area. She died after receiving four gunshot wounds, and the death of the girl who suffered from mental illness has has sparked an outrage. Now, some believe she may have been issuing a cry for help at the time of her death.
Why was a gun drawn on a small girl instead of a less lethal weapon? Had to be options. Especially w/3 cops in the room. #KristianaCoignard
— Jesse Benn (@JesseBenn) January 29, 2015
As the Mirror states, the surveillance video has been released showing Kristiana Coignard lunging at one officer before being shot dead. Police even state that she pulled a large butcher’s knife from her waistband before heading toward them.
Three officers are currently on paid leave and a preliminary autopsy report has ruled the death as a homicide.
ThinkProgress spoke with Coignard’s aunt, Heather Robertson, about the shooting death of her niece.
“I think it was a cry for help. I think they could have done something. They are grown men. I think there is something they are not telling us.”
In the video, Kristiana Coignard picked up a red, wall-mounted phone in the police department lobby and she asked to speak with an officer. There is no known reason as to why she had done that or what she wanted to speak with an officer about.
Robertson said that her niece struggled with mental illness ever since her mother died, when Kristiana was four. Her mental illnesses include depression and bipolar disorder, and she was even hospitalized twice after suicide attempts in the past few years.
One time, the teenager tried to hang herself, and another time she drank toilet bowl cleaner.
Considering an investigation is ongoing, the Longview Police Department declined to comment further on the case. Kristian Brian, a spokesperson for the department, did confirm that a video of the incident does exist and does have sound.
Warning: the video may be disturbing to some viewers.
In the video, Coignard is seen getting into a scuffle with an Officer Glen Derr as he attempts to restrain her. Officers Gene Duffy and Grace Bagley soon enter the area, and have the girl cornered before she lunges forward at one of the officers who has a gun pointed at her.
Kristiana Coignard is then seen lying on the ground after being shot. Police claim that the teen girl had “I have a gun” written on her hand and she showed it to the officer, but that has not yet been confirmed.
Police have also stated that Officer Duffy fired a Taser at Coignard, but it failed to stop her. She was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Kristiana Coignard may very well have been issuing a cry for help when she was shot dead by police in Longview, Texas. There are still a lot of unanswered questions in the case, and many things that don’t seem to make sense, but will come to light as more is known.
[Image via Facebook]