Woman shot, killed by Torrance police following pursuit identified as San Diego native

Michelle Lee Shirley was from San Diego
Posted at 12:21 PM, Nov 01, 2016

SAN DIEGO - A woman shot to death by Torrance police Monday after she reportedly tried to run down officers during a pursuit was identified as a San Diego native.

According to the Torrance Police Department:

"On October 31, 2016, at approximately 2:28 pm, Torrance Police Officers responded to multiple 911 calls of an erratic and reckless driver in the area of Arlington Avenue and Post Avenue in the City of Torrance. The vehicle was described as having collision damage and deployed side airbags were visible to the reporting party.

Torrance Police units responded to the area and upon locating the vehicle they observed reckless and dangerous driving, and a pursuit ensued. Officers were authorized to utilize a Precision Intervention Technique maneuver which brought the vehicle to a stop facing northbound on Cabrillo Ave just north of Sepulveda Boulevard. The vehicle accelerated in reverse striking an occupied Torrance Police vehicle and then accelerated forward striking a second occupied marked Torrance Police vehicle. At that point an officer involved shooting occurred at approximately 2:36 pm.

Officers immediately performed life-saving measures on the driver and she was transported to Harbor General Hospital. The driver was pronounced dead at the hospital at approximately 3:05 pm. Investigators confirmed the deceased's identity at approximately 10:30 pm. The deceased was identified as being Michelle Lee Shirley, 39 years of San Diego and notifications have been made to the immediate family.

One Torrance police officer sustained moderate injuries during the incident and was treated and released at a local facility.

This incident is being investigated under the command and direction of Captain Martin Vukotic of the Special Operations Bureau with the assistance of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office who is reviewing this incident as is our procedure for all officer involved shootings. Anyone with additional information related to this case is encouraged to contact the Torrance Police Department Detective Division at (310) 618-5570."

10News learned Shirley grew up in the Encanto area and graduated from Gompers Preparatory Academy.

Shirley went on to attend UC San Diego, and then attended Loyola University School of Law.

Neighbors remembered Shirley as a friendly, outgoing girl.

Tommy Gorman told 10News, "I don't know if I ever heard anything bad about her. She was a nice person. [She] scared me one day when I first moved here … [I was] sitting in my car and she came up and said, 'Welcome to the neighborhood.' Whoa! She was a beautiful, beautiful young girl."

Shirley's mother told 10News that her daughter suffered from bipolar disorder and sometimes had trouble functioning, especially if she hadn't been sleeping well.

She wiped tears as she told about episodes where her daughter seemed to be spiraling. Shirley's mother said there was no trace of alcohol or drugs in her daughter's system, but she had trouble.

Shirley also lived in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, selling advertising. Most recently, she was working as an Uber driver in the greater Los Angeles area.

She leaves a 14-year-old son.