Family seeking answers after woman dies in police-involved shooting

GBI looking into police-involved shooting that left a woman dead

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — The family of a Johns Creek woman who died in a police-involved shooting is demanding answers.

Police told Channel 2 Action News they received a call early Saturday about a woman with mental illness who left her home with a knife.

Police said they encountered 36-year-old Shukri Ali Said near Northview High School, and after an attempt to stop her with a taser and shooting her with rubber bullets, two officers ultimately shot her. She later died at the hospital.

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"When officers responded to the scene they did encounter Ms. Said, and they provided multiple verbal commands, asking her to drop the knife," GBI spokeswoman, Nelly Miles, told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik. "She did not relinquish the knife, and they eventually deployed less than lethal methods to get her to drop the knife that included a taser. We are the fact finders. We are requested to conduct an independent, thorough investigation to get to the bottom of what occurred."

The head of Georgia’s chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations said the family called to get her help with her bipolar disorder, and the family never expected this outcome.


"The family can find some comfort in the belief that Shukri is at peace, but this family cannot rest comfortably; they cannot rest peacefully until they know what happened to Shukri, why it happened, whether her civil liberties were violated and what law enforcement can do to prevent this from happening to another mentally ill person in our state," said Edward Mitchell with CAIR Georgia.

Mitchell and family attorney, Ibrahim Awad, said the family moved to Georgia from California last year, and its previous experience with law enforcement was to have Said subdued and committed to a hospital for help. They said the family expected a similar response and were “horrified” to learn that police had shot their sister. 

“They called for help. They called because Shukri had suffered from mental illness for years, at least eight years. She had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She heard voices. She had delusions. She was sick,” said Mitchell.

Awad said early that morning Said told her sister she had to leave the home because she was hearing voices, and when the sister tried to intervene, he said Said grabbed a small kitchen knife and left.

“The officers that responded knew about her mental illness, they were forewarned about her mental illness and there just can’t be any more preparation for law enforcement when responding to the scene that this person does not respond to commands,” said Awad.

Awad and Mitchell said they believe officers, in general, need more training on how to deal with mental health patients.

“To expect a mentally ill person to respond to commands is illogical and the police officers knew that,” said Awad.

“If the police know that, that should dictate how they address and deal with that person,” said Mitchell. They must use de-escalation tactics. You cannot walk up to someone in a state of mental instability and threaten them or use physical force on them immediately, that’s only going to make matters worse and inevitably lead to tragedy.”

The family laid Said to rest Sunday.

“They’re strong people, and they’re doing well, but this is a tough time for them,” he said.