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.
Contributing: Jacob Wittich