CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The family of a woman shot and killed by Cedar Rapids police officers is speaking out for the first time. They are frustrated and upset with the way the investigation is being handled and have some unanswered questions.
According to police, it began with a short car chase that ended on a dead end street at the 200 block of 27th Street Northwest. As police approached the car, they say the driver pulled a gun. Officers opened fire, shooting and killing 27 year-old Desirae Daniel.
Daniel's family said they're not satisfied with the details they've received about the investigation. It starts with how Desirae was shot. Police say she pointed a handgun at them, but the family says that just doesn't sound like something she would do. On top of this unexpected death, the family is dealing with many unanswered questions and an extra financial burden.
"I got back home, got upstairs and somebody was beating on the door. It was the police," said Desirae's brother John Daniel. John said his family learned of Desirae's death several hours after it happened. And now, a day later, investigators have shared few details.
"We don't know how many times she was shot for sure. The paper said a family member identified her. Nobody identified her," said family friend Stephanie King.
"We never got called to the hospital. We never got to identify her. My mom called to see her and they told her no," said John Daniel.
And now, the Daniels believe Desirae is being painted as a criminal, after media reports noted her past convictions on drug and traffic charges.
"I think it's wrong you guys put her criminal record on the news acting like she's a bad person and she isn't," said Desirae's brother, Brandon Daniel.
Stephanie King says Desirae and her family are the true victims and not the police officers involved.
"Everybody's concerned about how they feel and how they're doing. They're still here. Their families still have them and they have that support. What are we supposed to do?" asked King.
Along with the emotional strain, the Daniels must find $300 to get Desirae's body or remains back to Cedar Rapids after an autopsy in Ankeny. But they'll find a way to support one another and honor Desirae's life. Because, they say, it's what she would have done for them.
"She was a good person. She would do anything for anybody. If you ever needed anything, she was the first one there," said King.
Thursday night at 5pm, friends and family of Desirae Daniel will hold a candlelight vigil on the 200 block of 27th Street Northwest where she was shot and killed. They'll then head to the Cedar Rapids Police Department for another vigil at 6 p.m. The family says, due to the unexpected costs, they've set-up a memorial fund at Collins Community Credit Union as well.