SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office has ruled that law enforcement officers who fatally shot a woman in Little Italy last year do not bear criminal state liability.

The release of the DA’s review comes two months after Yan Li‘s son filed a wrongful death suit against the county and city of San Diego, saying his mother was suffering from mental illness and officers used excessive force.

In its statement Thursday, the DA office said it was “reasonable to conclude that Li was experiencing a mental health crisis, however her actions constituted an imminent threat to the peace officers, resulting in her tragic death.”

The shooting happened March 3, 2022, when a San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy went to the 47-year-old’s condo on Beech Street to serve an eviction notice, the DA said. When Li answered the door, the deputy handed her the notice and, seeing she was holding a meat cleaver, pointed his gun at her and told her to drop the tool.

Li did not comply, yelled at him to drop his gun and accused him of not being a real peace officer, according to the DA.

When more deputies and San Diego police officers arrived at the scene, building staff told them that Li had “charged at several employees with a knife the previous day when they entered her condo to fix a water leak,” the release said.

After deputies tried to negotiate with Li, they eventually entered the condo so they could arrest her and saw Li was armed with a knife, the DA said. Deputies told her to come out of her bedroom, and when she did not comply, they fired four bean bag rounds at her.

Deputies were calling for help from SDPD’s police dog when Li then charged at them with a knife, the DA said. The deputies and officers tried to back away, but Li stabbed one officer in the chest, according to the DA.

Li then left the condo and “thrust the knife toward a deputy’s abdomen before he fell to the floor,” the release stated. Li then swung the knife down toward the officer.

That’s when three deputies and an officer then fired their guns at her, hitting her multiple times.

“Li’s actions led the peace officers to reasonably conclude that she had the ability, opportunity and intent to stab and seriously injured them,” the release stated.

“They had a reasonable belief that using deadly force was necessary to stop an imminent threat of death or serious injury to the deputies and officers involved,” it continued.

The DA sent a letter dated May 9 to Sheriff Kelly Martinez and Chief David Nisleit. That letter can be read here.

“This determination regarding criminal liability does not diminish from the need to continue to strive to improve our systems to more adequately address mental health issues that are often present in officer-involved shooting incidents,” the release said.