LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- Family and friends gathered to remember a young mother who called 911 for help before she was shot and killed by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy earlier this month in Lancaster.
Niani Finlayson, 27, was fatally shot Dec. 4 after deputies responded to a domestic violence call at the Cedar Ridge Apartments on East Avenue J-8, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
"Four shots in the back. It's ridiculous. Where is the training for these officers? Why didn't you Tase her? Why didn't you beanbag her? Why didn't you mace her?" said her father Lamont Finlayson.
"My heart is so, so broken. I hate it for her children. I hate it. It's devastating," said her mother, Tracie Hall.
The family's attorney says the mother of two young girls told dispatchers her ex-boyfriend was attacking her. When deputies arrived at her Lancaster apartment, she had armed herself with a knife to ward the man off.
Investigators say when she moved toward her ex-boyfriend, that's when a deputy shot and killed her.
"Officers should be trained that they are not supposed to shoot and kill when they don't know who's there or what the surroundings are. There did not appear to be any reason for them to shoot her at all," said attorney Brad Gage.
The sheriff's department says the shooting is being investigated by the county's Inspector General and the District Attorney's office to determine if it was justified.
Finlayson's family says her 9-year-old daughter witnessed the shooting. As they struggle to comprehend the devastating loss, they are demanding the deputy be held accountable.
"Sometimes you just can't cry enough. It will never bring her back, but justice has to stand," the woman's father said.
The family is filing a $30 million claim against the county. The sheriff's department says bodycam video of the shooting will be released sometime this week.