Michelle Shirley, California Woman Shot Dead by Police Suffered from Bipolar Disorder
On Monday, Oct. 31, former San Diego resident Michelle Lee Shirley was shot by Torrance police after she reportedly tried to run down officers after a high-speed pursuit.
According to eyewitness video, Shirley was fired upon at a gas station midday Monday.
Police responded to 911 calls reporting that a motorist was driving erratically around 2:30 p.m. in the city of Torrance. Officers on scene used a Precision Intervention Technique maneuver that cornered Shirley’s vehicle, per the police report.
From that point, Shirley drove in reverse, striking a police car and then forward, striking another. The police report states that Shirley was involved in a police-involved shooting at 2:36 p.m.
San Diego’s ABC 10 News reports that Shirley was currently an Uber driver, a former graduate of UC San Diego and Loyola University School of Law. The outlet also reports that Captain Martin Vukotic of the Special Operations Bureau, with the assistance of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, will investigate Monday’s shooting.
In an NBC San Diego exclusive, reporters sit down with Ronnie Shirley to discuss Michelle’s last hours before her death. He tells the outlet that his daughter had a long battle with bipolar disorder and Monday she was “not in her right mind.”
“She was just special,” Ronnie Shirley grieves. “Michelle was just special.”
Her parents express disbelief that police would shoot her. They are asking that officers use caution when dealing with mental illness.
“To just spray someone with bullets, I could not imagine something like that … It mattered to us — it really mattered to us,” mother Debra Shirley says. “She was loved by people.”
Michelle appeared in a public service announcement discussing her battle with bipolar disorder. She leaves behind a 14-year-old son.
NBC San Diego reports that the three officers involved are placed on administrative leave.