Sunday, February 28, 2021
Hawthorne Police Kills Young Woman
By Sentinel Staff Writer
Published September 12, 2007

Just days after Mertis Curry called 911 for help with a domestic violence dispute with her daughter, she is now crying out for help from the public to bury that same daughter.

Curry’s 21-year-daughter, Elaine Coleman, was shot and killed by Hawthorne police officers in her residence in the 14400 block of Lemoli Avenue in the early morning hours of September 9. The two officers were responding to a call placed by Curry when her daughter locked herself in a bedroom with her four-year-old daughter, Latiera, and yelled that she was going to commit suicide.

According to Deputy Oscar Butao, when the two officers broke down the door and saw Coleman holding her daughter and a box cutter, they ordered her to drop the knife and release the child, but she refused. They proceeded to subdue Coleman with a taser, but it did not have an effect on her. When the officers tried to physically restrain her, according to Lt. Julian Catano of the Hawthorne Police Department, Coleman began stabbing her young child and both officers several times. It was then, said Butao, that one of the officers fired two shots killing Coleman on the scene.


“They just didn’t have to kill my daughter,” Curry told ABC7. “I begged them not to kill my baby but they did it anyway… They really didn’t have to do that, but I know they’re gun happy.”

Luis Castro of the sheriff’s department told CBS2, “[The officers] tried to subdue her without using deadly force and what ended up happening is the officers were injured as well as the four-year-old daughters, so at some point, when an officer felt that it was just too life threatening for everyone involved, [he] fired his weapon.”

During a Monday evening news conference, Curry pleaded for financial help to bury her daughter and raise her granddaughter.

“I need all the help I can get,” she said. “I’m on a fixed income. I can’t do it by myself.” She added, “I know somebody is going to come through to help me,” she said. “I just need help, help, help, all the help I can get.”

Four-year-old Latiera, after being admitted to a hospital to tend to her wounds, has since been released with 30 stitches. Both officers, one receiving 30 stitches, are also recovering.

Categories: Local

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