EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — The family of a woman shot and killed by an Evansville Police officer last week is speaking out. 34-year-old Christina McKinney was shot and killed by police in the 1700 block of Evans Avenue last Wednesday after they say she would not stop reaching for a weapon. Police later determined that it was a replica toy gun. The family says she never pointed it at officers and say her death could have been avoided with the proper mental health treatment.
“This was not Christina’s life. This was what it came to because of mental health,” says Jaquelyn Probst, Christina McKinney’s mother.
The family says McKinney was shot and killed less than six blocks away from her apartment on Cross Street after an argument with her wife, Heather. After the two separated, Heather left to get cigarettes. The family thinks McKinney was on her way to talk with Heather when McKinney was shot and killed by police. McKinney’s wife and mom say they angry with police and say she never pointed the gun at officers.
“She never picked that up. She never pointed it at anyone, I mean it was a plastic orbeez gun,” says Heather McKinney.
“It looked like she was putting it down when they fired a shot. I fully back law enforcement, but I don’t know that she not raising the gun was a reason to fire. She was not erratic, and she was talking to him. She did not know why he was stopping her. He is the one that has to decide what he is able to do, and if he is able to continue doing his job after that shooting. He is the one who will have to live with what he did that day,” Probst says.
The family says McKinney had run ins with the law in the past, but no felonies. They say her kids were taken away in December because McKinney was self medicating for mental illness. Her mom says she tried to get help in the past, but had no luck.
“There needs to be more help out here for these people,” says Probst.
A memorial now stands where McKinney was shot, and has pictures of her and her children, including her 10 year old son.
“He asked me if the police knew his mother was good and I said yeah, I will let them know. And he said you know that the police are good too, and I said you are right. He sat here and prayed for the cops, for her, and for all of us. And he said God, just make sure she is happy now,” Probst and McKinney say.
The family says they are holding a walk and candlelight vigil in McKinney’s honor this Saturday. The walk begins at McKinney’s apartment on Cross Street and ends at the memorial near Sweetser and Evans. We reached out to the Evansville Police. They declined to comment on the family’s remarks.