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Originally published Monday, November 14, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Family: Woman killed in shootout mentally ill

A SeaTac woman fatally shot by police in Pierce County on Sunday suffered from severe mental illnesses, according to her family.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Editor's note

Commenting has been disabled because of the sensitive nature of this story.

A SeaTac woman fatally shot by police in Pierce County on Sunday suffered from severe mental illness, according to her family.

Holly Crahay's unpredictable behavior had her children convinced that if authorities didn't civilly commit her to mental-health treatment "she would end up shooting herself or somebody else," said her son, Trevor Noble Jr.

He said he previously told a judge she desperately needed help, but prosecutors "claimed she wasn't crazy," and the judge released her.

On Sunday, Crahay fired several shots at police and sheriff's deputies before they shot back, according to the Sheriff's Department.

The incident began Sunday afternoon when police tried to stop Crahay in a parking lot near Bonney Lake for reckless driving, including driving over bushes and curbs, said Pierce County sheriff's Sgt. Ed Troyer. Crahay stopped her car for police, but when officers walked up, she sped off, Troyer said.

Deputies and Bonney Lake police sped after her. When she wouldn't stop, they performed a PIT maneuver — a tactic that forces the pursued car to veer sideways and spin to a stop. When Crahay's car stopped, she started shooting, Troyer said.

"She put rounds through two different police cars," Troyer said, adding that a windshield on one deputy's squad car was shattered, leaving the deputy with cuts on his face.

Police and deputies returned fire. Crahay was struck, and at some point during the gunbattle, a pit bull inside her car was shot and died, Troyer said.

"Once they hit her and she stopped firing, [police] went up to the car and knocked the gun out of her hand," Troyer said. "This was a close-quarters gunbattle."

Noble Jr. said that his mother spent a lot of time wandering around Pierce County searching for another son, a child who was taken away by state authorities nearly eight years ago.

"She's mentally ill, and since she lost one of her sons to CPS (Child Protective Services), she's been going crazy looking for him," said Noble Jr., 20. "She pretends like she's talking to God when she talks to herself. She has these weird, long conversations and says weird stuff."

Noble Jr. and two siblings, who are also Crahay's children, live with their father in White Center. The family had not seen Crahay since mid-September, when she walked into a Taco Bell where her 17-year-old daughter worked and demanded the girl's car keys, according to a King County Sheriff's Office report. The girl told deputies she let her mother take her Ford Mustang because she knew the woman had a gun.

The 17-year-old girl, her 14-year-old brother, Noble Jr. and their father all have protection orders forbidding Crahay from coming within 500 feet of their schools, jobs and home. Crahay was prohibited from possessing a firearm because of a prior domestic-violence-related conviction.

On Sept. 12, Noble Jr. received a text message from his mother saying that she was "going to shoot someone in Tacoma for taking her child and/or she may just kill herself," according to the Sheriff's Office report.

On Sept. 23, Crahay reportedly chased after her 14-year-old son and threatened to kill him "for raping God," sheriff's deputies said. The boy, who lives with his two siblings in White Center, told deputies that he told his mother he loved her but she said she didn't care.

On Oct. 11, Crahay was charged in King County Superior Court with unlawful possession of a firearm, felony harassment, domestic violence and two counts of violation of a domestic-violence court order. Crahay was being sought on an arrest warrant, according to the court filing.

Noble Jr. said that when he obtained a restraining order, he told a judge his mother needed help. He said she refused to take mood-stabilizing medications or meet with treatment providers.

"We were trying to get her help then, and they [prosecutors] claimed she wasn't crazy; the judge released her," Noble Jr. said. "I honestly warned people multiple times."

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.

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