When the parents of an Alabama woman called 911 Sunday to ask for help getting her to a mental hospital, they never imagined the call would end with her dead at the hands of police.
"It is absolutely outrageous that our precious daughter, Melissa (Boarts), was shot and killed by the Auburn police," Melissa Boarts' father, Michael, said in a statement released through the family's attorney. "There was absolutely no justification for it and we are all in deep mourning."
On Sunday afternoon, Auburn police responded to a report that Melissa Boarts, 36, was driving on Interstate 85 and threatening to kill herself, The Associated Press reported. Melissa Boarts pulled over in Macon County, got out of the SUV "armed with a weapon and charged the officers in a threatening manner," police told the wire service.
At least one officer opened fire, killing her.
But Melissa Borts' family says what she needed was help.
Her mother called 911 after her daughter threatened to hurt herself and suggested she might cut her wrists with a pocket knife, according to the family's attorney Julian McPhilips. At the time she had a pocket knife on her.
"Instead the police ended up putting a bullet in her," the family said in a statement.
Melissa was previously diagnosed as a bipolar manic depressive and had a doctor's appointment scheduled for May to adjust her medication, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.
Her mother, Terry, tried to follow her after she left the family's home without saying anything on Sunday, after she threatened to hurt herself, according to newspaper. Worried she may make good on her threat, Terry Boarts called 911.
"I relayed to (police) that she was having mental issues -- that she was bipolar, that she had been really depressed, that she was going to cut her wrists," Terry Boarts told the Advertiser. "We were thinking they would get her help."
The SUV Melissa Boarts was driving had a GPS unit attached to it. As she headed down I-85 with her mother in pursuit her twin sister, Melinda, kept Terry Boarts updated on her location, AL.com reported.
Terry Boarts said she stayed on the phone with a dispatcher until she realized her daughter had died.
"I think my parents calling the cops was the worst mistake," Melinda Boarts told AL.com.
Auburn Police Chief Paul Register told The Associated Press video from the responding officers' dash and body cameras had been turned over to the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation. The agency is investigating the shooting.