US woman shot by police 'would touch hearts'

US woman Charleena Lyles, who was shot dead by Seattle police after she called them to report a burglary, has been described by her family as a fun-loving woman who was not intimidating.

"She was so animated," her brother Domico Jones told the Seattle Times. "She was a goofy one. You'd have to see it. It's something I'll never forget."

She was pregnant at the time she was killed, and already had three children. She was a very family-oriented person who loved family barbecues. She also wrote poetry "that would touch hearts," her brother said.

Ms Lyles, an African-American, was a short, slight woman who weighed about 45kg.

"She was nobody that you would ever think would be intimidating to a police officer," Mr Jones told the Seattle Times.

Police allege she was well-known to the police department and had a note in the system suggesting multiple units respond to the callout.

Two officers arrived and police say Ms Lyles had a knife. Both of them opened fire, in front of several children in her apartment.

Audio released of her emergency services call was reporting a burglary at her Magnuson Park apartment, a building for people transitioning out of homelessness.

Her sister Monika Williams said Ms Lyles had mental health problems, "but that's no reason for her to be shot".

"There's no reason for her to be shot in front of her babies," she told CBS News.

Ms Lyles struggled with many problems including depression and stress. One of her children was born with Down's Syndrome.

"I believe I need counselling. I believe I am suffering from depression," she told her therapist years ago, the Seattle Times reports.

"I want to learn how to cope with my depression when I have it and also treat it."

She is now the 453rd person to be fatally shot by US police in 2017, according to a database gathered by the Washington Post.

The incident is being investigated, police say.