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UPDATE: Chattanooga woman shot and killed by Alabama police was recent drug court graduate

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The Chattanooga woman who was shot and killed by police in Birmingham, Alabama on Friday recently graduated from a drug rehab program in Hamilton County. Police said 40-year-old Amanda Bivens was responsible for at least two robberies in Homewood, which is a suburb of Birmingham.     

READ MORE | 1 dead after officer-involved shooting in Homewood

"I mean addiction, it's cunning, baffling, and powerful," Annie Pendergrass, Bivens' friend said.

During Annie Pendergrass' path to recovery, she met the Chattanooga mother and became close friends with her.

"She was doing great. She had a job. She helped people. When she didn't use, she was involved in service work," Pendergrass said.

Pendergrass considered Bivens caring, genuine, and on the right path. While Bivens had a lengthy criminal history, friends said she was trying to help herself by going through the Hamilton County drug court program and graduating in February.

Pendergrass said Bivens left Chattanooga a couple of months ago and didn't mention where she was going.

"She was so sweet. She always smelled really sweet. You could give her hugs and she'd always say 'oh, kisses on your face.' That's actually the last thing she said to me. Her last text message was I love you and kisses on your face," Pendergrass said.

She learned over the weekend her friend was shot and killed by police in Birmingham, Alabama.

Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Tom Greenholtz who performed Bivens' recent drug court graduation issued a statement after hearing the news:

"We were surprised and disappointed to hear the news of Amanda Bivens this weekend.  In its ten-years of successful operation, the Hamilton County Drug Court has worked to change the lives of countless graduates and families. Through the Drug Court’s dedicated work, very few of its graduates re-offend, and none has abandoned the essential tools of recovery to this extreme. Although we are not aware of all the details, we are especially thankful that no one else was harmed or injured, including particularly the law enforcement officers involved."

Surveillance video showed Bivens entering a Boost Mobile store where police say she demanded money at gunpoint, but then became nervous and left. Officers said she later went to a Marathon gas station and was overheard bragging about a robbery at a financial center and that's when the store clerk called police.

Pendergrass believes Bivens' addiction may have resurfaced.

"When addiction takes a hold of you, it's not you anymore. It's your addiction doing things," Pendergrass said.

Police said when they arrived to the gas station, Bivens pulled out a gun and wouldn't cooperate with authorities. That's when she was shot and killed.

"If you're not constantly doing things to fight it, then you can fall back into the grips of it. It's more powerful than any of us are. People think it's easy to just quit or you should just quit and it's not that simple sometimes," Pendergrass said.

Channel 3 spoke with Bivens' father off camera who said he's going to remember the good times with his daughter. He said he doesn't agree with what police did.

Channel 3 reached out to the Homewood Police Department about their actions and the status of the investigation, but did not hear back on Tuesday.

A man who police took into custody Friday has since been released pending further investigation.

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