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Narrative of unarmed pregnant woman shot 5 times by police falls apart with body cam image

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Bill Lukitsch

The Kansas City Star

A Kansas City, Kansas, woman who was shot and seriously wounded by two Kansas City police officers as she fled an arrest Friday was armed, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday.

Leonna M. Hale, 26, was charged with unlawful firearm possession, exhibiting a firearm and resisting arrest, Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker’s office said.

The shooting sparked immediate outrage and garnered national attention after one witness told The Star the woman appeared to be unarmed and told police she was pregnant before she was shot.

Image credit: Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.

In a statement Wednesday, Baker said a review conducted by her office of police body cameras showed that Hale “continually displayed a weapon during her encounter with police officers” before she was shot.

“Our job, as prosecutors, is to remain neutral and review all evidence,” Baker said. “Our review of body cam videos provided the actual accounting of events that night.”

The prosecutor’s office also released an image of Hale in a running stance with what appears to be a firearm in her right hand.

Kansas City police officers on patrol were investigating an armed carjacking reported earlier that evening from across the state line in Kansas City, Kansas. The officers then found a vehicle that matched its description in the parking lot of the Family Dollar at 634 Prospect Ave.

Dispatch advised officers that a man and a woman, possibly armed with a gun, were sought in connection with the carjacking, police have said.

As they were attempting to arrest the two suspects, police said, a man exited the driver’s side door and began to run away. Hale then got out of the passenger side and ran to the parking lot of the Family Dollar, where she was shot.

Police have said two officers fired at Hale, who is accused of having a gun in her hand when the officers shot her. Police said a gun was found on the ground and taken as evidence.

According to charging papers in Hale’s criminal case, she denied ever having a firearm when interviewed by Missouri troopers. She declined to participate in a follow-up interview when contacted a second time after detectives reviewed the body camera footage, court records state.

©2022 The Kansas City Star. Visit kansascity.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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