POSTED: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 1:51pm
UPDATED: Friday, December 2, 2011 - 10:44pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Everyone who knew the single mom who rented the yellow and green house on Atlanta's Abner Place knew that she and her young children were struggling to survive.
She'd lost her job; they had no water.
They would go next door to Joe Daniel's home to get drinking water and wash clothes and cook.
Now Daniel is saying he wants to know what made 40-year-old Carulus Hines snap inside her home, attack her children and threaten Atlanta police.
Daniel said an officer "looked in there and says she was stabbing the little girl, already killed her I guess, stabbing her."
Daniel said police walked in on the woman inside her home while she was stabbing her 4-year-old daughter Malecia repeatedly, and police shot and killed Carulus when she threatened them.
"The officer looked, he backed up, just like she was coming to him with a knife or something," Daniel said. "He told her to drop it. He got a gun, he went to shoot."
Police said Monday that Carulus had already attacked her 8-year-old son, Avery and threw him out of a window.
He ran to Daniel's house, and someone there called 911.
Police officers were able to force their way into the home where they saw Carulus sitting in a chair, stabbing Malecia.
The officers drew their guns and told Carulus to drop the knife.
When she did not, they shot her several times, fatally wounding her.
Neighbor Charles Harris said his heart breaks for the family.
"I think she just snapped," he said. "She was by my house Sunday around 9:30 saying nine demons come out of her. Nine demons. She said that she had been possessed."
Carulus Hines' landlady, Miyoshi Hill, in tears, said she had been letting the family live in the house rent-free.
"Yeah, because of her kids, I just couldn't put her out," Hill said. "Her daughter was a disabled child. She has Downs syndrome...things were just really hard for her, I guess."
Hill said she did everything she could to help the family.
She said the woman was going to school, in training, hoping to get a job at an eyeglasses shop or at an optometrist's office.
"I just couldn't put them out, so I let them stay" for free, Hill said. "But I did come over about a few weeks ago and I told her that she was going to have to figure out what she had to do because I couldn't continue to let her stay like that. And for the first time, she'd gotten really belligerent with me, which she'd never done before."
Hill described Carulus Hines as "complex, complicated. She had some issues like she was battling against herself, herself against everything that she was dealing with, mentally. She was trying really hard, I guess, taking care of everything by herself."
Avery is with relatives now.
There were two officers involved in the shooting.
They have been placed on routine administrative leave while the incident is investigated.