The shocking moment a knife-wielding woman was shot and killed by cops in Jacksonville, Florida, was captured on recently released body-cam footage.
The State Attorney’s Office ruled the death of Leah Baker, 29, a justifiable police shooting after she emerged from her home with the butcher knife, stabbed an officer in the arm, and refused repeated calls for her to drop the weapon.
Baker, a young mother who suffered with her mental health, had called officers to her home at around 5pm on April 11 after an argument with her housemate about medication.
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Leah Baker, 29, called the cops to her home on April 11 but then attacked an officer with a knife. She was shot by two officers after refusing to drop the weapon and died in hospital
The new video of the incident shows the speed with which the encounter escalated to the fatal shooting.
The bodycam footage sees Officer Elizabeth Mechling arrive to Baker’s home on Golfair Boulevard, knock on the front door and step back.
After a few seconds, Baker blasts through the door swinging the knife wildly above her head and and taking aim at Mechling, who raises her arms to protect herself.
‘I’ve just been f****** stabbed!’ the officer is heard shouting as she runs back from the porch and takes out her firearm.
Baker drops the knife as Mechling shouts and aims her gun.
Mechling then calls on Baker to lie on the ground but she instead goes to retrieve the knife and two shots are fired. Baker drops the knife again.
‘Shots fired!’ Mechling says in her radio as Sgt. J.C. Nobles, who was off-duty but passed by the scene, arrives to help.
They both yell at Baker to get down on the ground as they edge closer but Baker once again lunges for the knife and begins to race toward Nobles, who fires four shots.
She falls holding onto the knife as a third officer approaches.
Baker emerged from her home with the knife in her hand and stabbed the cop in the arm
Officer Mechling retreated, drew her gun and fired at Baker when she picked up the knife again
Bodycam footage shows how Baker refused to lie on the ground when asked
According to News4Jax, additional officers arrived on the scene and Meching’s wound was treated.
At this point, Baker begins punching a K-9 dog who grabbed her leg.
‘Stop hitting my dog’, an officer yelled while another removed the knife from Baker’s possession. The dog dragged Baker into the street were she was placed in handcuffs.
Paramedics arrived to treat her but Baker later died in hospital.
Mechling was also taken to the hospital for treatment but she sustained a minor injury.
Baker, 29, had a nine-year-old daughter
In August, the State Attorney’s Office ruled that the shots fired by Mechling and Holmes were justified. It was one of 14 shooting dating back to November 2018 involving the Jacksonville Police that were cleared.
It was the fifth recorded shooting for Nobles, an 18-year-veteran, and the first for Mechling in the line of duty. She has been on the police force for a year.
Crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson told News4Jax that he believed the actions of the officers were correct and claimed it was a warning for groups that wish to defund the police of the dangers they face.
‘A mentally ill person just like a sane person can kill you and you’ve got to protect yourself and protect others so the officers did right to use deadly force,’ he said of Baker’s death.
‘Everyday citizens put their life on the line for the citizens of their community that they represent and that video is just a snippet of some of the things they have to go through in order to be able to go home to their families
‘Mechling had the right to pull her weapon from moment she was stabbed,’ he added.
‘She exercises officer safety as we see in the video, when she knocks on the door she steps back. She could have easily stabbed her in the upper torso or even in the face or neck area.’
‘That happened so fast that had he not stopped the threat, he could have been stabbed as well. So, he did the right thing,’ Jefferson said of Baker’s lunge toward Holmes.
Baker’s family, however, have spoken of their heartbreak that the encounter escalated so far given her mental health history.
‘I can’t condone my daughter’s actions, but at he same time I have fought with different hospitals to get the mental health help she needed,’ her mother Charity said.
Baker’s mother Charity, pictured with her above, has spoken of her desperate attempts to get her daughter the mental health help she needed before she was fatally shot by police
Baker, pictured, had a previous charge for domestic assault
She held a rally on July 19 to pay tribute to her daughter and revealed that Baker had previously staying at a group home with people like her and recently got out of a Mental Health Resource Center.
‘I had her in what I thought was a safe house. She did suffer from mental illness. I never thought the police would kill my daughter,’ Charity told the crowd.
Baker, who had a nine-year-old daughter, had previously been Baker Acted and arrested on a domestic assault charges, according to Action News Jax.
‘Leah often battled the gloom that lurked hoping to extinguish her inner light. She struggled to make sense of a world that made no sense to her artist’s soul,’ her family wrote in her obituary.
Her housemate told of how her mental health had been in decline in the lead-up to the shooting.
‘I tried to get her to take her [medication], and she just wouldn’t, and as the days [went on] she got really bad,’ Zachary Solovikos said.
‘I thought about Baker Acting her myself, but they would talk to her, and she was so out of her mind she didn’t even know what she was talking about.’
Cops had been called to their home over a dispute about medicine.
‘I am outraged at what happened and what I saw. It didn’t have to go down like that,’ Solovikos added. ‘It’s sad.’
The officers had been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation that has now ruled in favor of their actions.