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Detroit police shoot, kill woman they say was pointing gun at customers

Posted at 11:22 PM, Dec 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 13:56:17-05

(WXYZ) — Detroit police shot and killed a woman Sunday evening who they say was pointing an airsoft gun at customers at a gas station.

According to Detroit Police Chief James White, the shooting happened at a Sunoco Gas Station near 7 Mile and Hayes just after 6 p.m. He said an independent investigation is being conducted by the Michigan State Police.

“As one of the customers was coming up to the store, she encountered that customer, pointed a gun at that customer, (and) that customer turned and walks away. She exists the store," Chief White explained.

"At that precise moment, officers encountered her. She turns and aims the weapon at the officer. The officers engaged her," he continued.

White said the officers fired shots, hitting the suspect and then kicked her gun away from her and that's when they discovered it was an airsoft gun. She later died at the hospital.

The chief says the woman never fired the airsoft gun but had threatened people for at least 7 minutes. The 911 call came in around 6:02 p.m. and police showed up and confronted the woman around 6:09 p.m.

At this point, Chief White said it’s unclear what the woman was saying, if anything. He said she may have suffered from a mental illness.

“My heart goes out to the family," he said.

"This is someone’s sister, perhaps someone’s mother, certainly someone’s daughter. So this is a tragic day. Here we are, and now we look at our policies, our practices and ensure that they were followed. But from what I can see, she was pointing a weapon and the officers engaged her. That’s just a tragic situation we had to engage in," White said.

The chief said DPD's homicide task force is on the case and that they're looking for any video evidence at nearby businesses.

He said an independent investigation is being conducted by the Michigan State Police.