Knife Wielding Woman Shot, Killed by Cops in North Center, Identified

Her Entire Tragic Story Here

Authorities released the identity Saturday of the woman fatally shot by a Chicago police officer Friday evening in the North Center neighborhood after police said she threatened them with a knife.

Michelle Robey, 55, of Chicago, was shot in the abdomen, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Police said they received a 911 call from the CVS at Western and Irving Park Road, saying a woman was inside the store threatening the employees with a weapon. When officers responded to the scene, employees told them the woman had gone to the bus stop outside.

Police said when officers confronted her, she brandished a knife and again made threats.

“Stand back, I will cut you. I got a knife. I got a knife,” Darryl Dixon, witness, said the woman was saying moments before she was shot.

Police said officers used their Taser guns on her twice without effect. She continued to threaten officers and then lunged at them with the knife, which was when an officer shot her, police said.

“She lunged toward the lady officer. She stepped back. And then she lunged toward the male officers, and that’s when I saw him take the shots,” Dixon said.

Robey was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Police said there was some property damage inside the CVS, but no employees were injured. Connie Wojo was out picking up pizza when she heard gunshots.

“It is just scary because I got four kids and it is Friday, and they go to the CVS. They go to the Dunkin’ Donuts. I’m really shook up right now because one of my kids could be walking past her. It’s just too close to home right now,” she said.

IPRA is investigating the fatal shooting, and witnesses inside the CVS were being interviewed, police said.

The officers involved will also be placed on routine administrative duties for 30 days, department procedure for a police-involved shooting.

Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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Woman Killed by Cops Faced Drug Charges, Bankruptcy, Foreclosure

In the years leading up to her death Friday night, Michele Robey was no stranger to some aspects of the judicial system.

In 2012, while unemployed and receiving Social Security payments, the 55-year-old filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as she owed more than $300,000 to various creditors, mostly for unpaid mortgages on two properties in Elgin and various medical bills.

Then last summer, she was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and retail theft.

About 5:45 p.m. Friday, Chicago Police were called to a CVS at 3944 N. Western because Robey was threatening store employees with a knife, authorities said. As officers arrived, CVS employees told them the woman had since left and was standing at a bus stop on Western.

At the bus stop, Robey continued to brandish the knife and made threats toward the officers, police said. She made lunging motions at the officers, who tried to use a stun gun to subdue her. But it had no effect, and officers tried to use it once more to subdue her, again to no effect, police said. She again lunged at officers, who each fired one shot.

The investigation was ongoing Saturday evening; a police spokesman could not be reached for comment.

An autopsy found Robey died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen, and the Cook County Medical Examiner ruled her death a homicide. She lived in the Hollywood Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

In the bankruptcy filing, she said she had $5 on her and another $11.26 in her checking account. She drove a Honda CRV with 140,000 miles that was valued at $1,948.

She was disabled and unemployed at the time, receiving $2,359 every month in Social Security with $799 designated to go toward providing for her son, who was 15 at the time.

Robey didn’t file taxes in 2011 or 2012 because she was out of work, and in 2010, she reporting making $19,360, according to the bankruptcy filing.

She also faced foreclosure on a property in Kane County at the time.

In 2013, Robey settled with her creditors, losing the two Elgin homes, records show. The attorney who arranged her declaration could not be reached for comment Saturday.

The drug and theft charges against her were eventually dropped; the attorney who initially represented her also could not be reached for comment.

In recent weeks, a relative expressed concern for her well being, writing on Robey’s Facebook page: “Who are you today? Are you ok?” before telling Robey to call her.

Reached at her home on the Northwest Side Saturday afternoon, Robey’s mother declined to be interviewed.

The Independent Police Review Authority was investigating the use of force, spokeswoman Mia Sissac said Friday.

The shooting occurred at a busy intersection during Friday evening’s rush hour.

One witness, Darryl Dixon, 55, said he was at the gas station across street when he saw police arrive. Dixon said officers’ interaction with woman lasted 15 to 20 minutes.

“I saw the young woman walk toward me, and she had Taser wires hanging off the back of her jacket,” he said.

Dixon said once the woman lunged at the two officers and he heard two shots fired, he was in shock as he saw the woman fall to the ground.

“The male officer said, ‘You should have dropped the knife. An ambulance is coming now,’” Dixon said. “I just said, ‘No.’ Because it happened about 20 to 30 feet in front of me.
Just another person hurt.”

No injuries to officers were reported, police said. The officers involved will be placed on routine administrative duties for a period of 30 days.

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Woman Shot, Killed by Police near CVS had a History of Mental Illness, Mother Says

A woman who was reportedly wielding a knife when she was fatally shot by police Friday night had a long history of mental illness, according to her friends and family.

Police say 55-year-old Michele Robey was threatening people with a knife and destroying merchandise inside a CVS in the North Center area when police arrived to find her at a bust stop outside just after 6 p.m. Friday night.

Officers reportedly tried to taser her twice, but it didn’t work, and said when Robey lunged at them with a 4-inch blade, they each fired one shot, hitting her twice. She was rushed to the hospital, where she died.

The Cook County Medical Examiner ruled her death was a homicide caused by a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Neige Thompson lives in Robey’s building and also considered her a friend. She said Robey had been upset about a blow-up with her 20-year-old son, and openly talked about her struggles with mental illness.

“Three days, four days ago, she came in sat down on the sofa and she was crying nonstop,” Thompson said.

Thompson said Robey also admitted she recently stopped taking her medication.

“She told me she wasn’t taking it lately because of financial issues,” Thompson said.

Robey’s mother said she had a masters in psychology, and once worked to educate families on how to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS, and that her life’s mission was to serve others. But after she was diagnosed with late onset bipolar disorder with sczhoprehnic tendencies about eight years ago, Robey’s mother said she lost her job shortly after.

“For about 17 years she told me she was really stable,” Thompson said. “I think when she lost everything, her financial stability, is when she got emotionally distressed,”
Thompson said.

Robey’s mother says her daughter had been institutionalized and was hospitalized twice in January. The heartbroken mom questions how her daughter’s life ended as it did.

“I do not understand how she could not have been apprehended without excessive force. She’s one woman,” Robey’s mother said.

The incident is now under investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority and the two officers involved in the shooting are on administrative leave for 30 days.

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