An 18-year-old special needs woman was killed after a confrontation with San Mateo County sheriff's deputies that escalated into an officer-involved shooting.
Deputy Rebecca Rosenblatt said deputies responded to the Moonridge Housing Complex, at Miramontes Point Road near Highway 1 by Half Moon Bay, about 9:20 p.m. Tuesday.
The initial report was of a violent female subject who was thought to be armed.
Rosenblatt said there was a confrontation with the woman, and the deputy discharged his weapon because he feared for his life after she lunged at him with a knife. The San Mateo Sheriff's Department has identified the deputy as Menh Trieu.
However, the woman's brother, Lorenzo Serrano, said that his sister has special needs and may have been off her medication. He identified his sister as Yanira Serrano.
"We want answers," Lorenzo said. "Why didn't they use a Taser? We just want to know what really happened."
Serrano says he's devastated and angry that his family's 911 call for help led to a sheriff's deputy shooting and killing his sister.
"She was really loving and caring, really sweet with my parents," he said. "I still can't believe this happened to my sister."
Serrano said that his family called the medical dispatch when his sister refused to take her medication.
"But instead they decided to send a deputy to the house," he said.
But the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department said the teenager was armed with a knife and that's why a deputy responded instead of an ambulance.
"We have deputies that were responding to the scene with the information that somebody was acting in a psychotic nature armed with a knife and won't put it down even for her own family," Rosenblatt said.
It's unclear whether Trieu, a nine year law enforcement veteran, was aware the young woman had mental illness issues. But the department said he was faced with a life-threatening situation within 20 seconds of arriving to the scene.
"This was an individual coming at our deputy with a knife intending to harm him," Rosenblatt said. "He should be allowed to protect himself otherwise we might be doing an interview about a deputy not going home to his family and kids."
No deputies were injured as a result of this incident and the investigation is being handled jointly between the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.
Searrano's family on Wednesday evening held a prayer vigil in front of Our Lady of the Pillar Church in Half Moon Bay.
Telemundo Area de la Bahia contributed to this report.