Kisha Michael, 31, and Marquintan Sandlin, 32, were fatally shot by police in Inglewood, California, during the early morning hours of Feb. 21. In a surprising revelation, Inglewood Mayor James Butts said on Feb. 23 that the couple was originally found unconscious by police (video below).
Michael and Sandlin originally found unconscious in their car, which was located on the side of the road.
"The officers retreated, isolated the vehicle, and spent about 45 minutes attempting to rouse the occupants and to de-escalate the situation," Butts told NBC Los Angeles.
An unidentified witness told the news station that police ordered the two out, and "a few seconds after that I heard gunshots."
"At some point, obviously, they were conscious because somebody felt threatened," Butts added.
Michael's and Sandlin's families described them as responsible parents; Michael was the single mother of three young sons, and Sandlin was the single father of four young daughters. On the night before the incident, Michael had a neighborhood friend babysit her kids, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Scott Collins, a spokesman for the Inglewood Police Department, said on Feb. 22 that when the cops approached the car on Feb. 23, they saw that the woman (Michael) had a gun in her hand.
However, it's not clear if Michael ever pointed a gun at officers.
“I feel she was gunned down,” Trisha Michael, the twin sister of the deceased woman, told the Los Angeles Times. “She never owned a gun. I feel like they are not telling us the whole story.”
Sandlin was convicted in 2009 for unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in public but was now working as a truck driver and had reportedly turned his life around, NBC Los Angeles reports.
Michael was on probation for a 2015 misdemeanor theft but had a bench warrant issued for her arrest after she didn't appear in court on Feb. 11.
Their families and community activists are demanding answers, but the Inglewood Police Department is still conducting an investigation into the incident.