Austin Police Shoot, Kill Woman in Possible Suicide-by-Cop Scenario
An Austin woman was shot and killed by police in what they are calling a suicide-by-cop case.
The unnamed 26-year-old Caucasian woman was shot multiple times by responding officers in the early hours of Oct. 16 after ignoring repeated commands to drop her gun, police said.
Before the deadly confrontation, the woman’s husband contacted police at around 3:45 a.m. and requested the assistance of a mental health officer, stating his wife was behaving erratically. However, when he stated his wife was armed, police officers were instead dispatched to the couple’s home.
Upon arrival, the woman is said to have pointed her gun at the officers as she walked towards them.
“She extended the weapon towards the officers, and said, ‘shoot me, shoot me, kill me,'” said APD Assistant Police Chief Troy Gay.
Gay added, “The officers were giving her verbal commands the whole time telling her to drop the weapon.”
The officers fired their weapons, but the woman, who was lying on the ground at this point, continued to pose a threat, as she was still moving with the gun underneath her body, according to ABC.
According to police, backup who arrived on the scene tried to disarm the woman, who continued to say things like “kill me.” Police said that, as they approached the woman, she still had the gun in hand and was pointed at the officers, at which point an officer fired several more shots, according to KXAN.
Officers administered first aid until emergency responders arrived and took her to a local hospital. She was pronounced dead 45 minutes after arriving at the hospital.
There is audio of the incident, but no video footage because the patrol vehicles weren’t in the vicinity of the confrontation.
This is the eighth officer-involved shooting this year in Austin, reported the KXAN.
Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday said that “suicide by cop” is becoming a common trend in the city.
“We’ve had two or three this year, so far, that I can remember,” Casaday told CBS Austin. “I think just the direction we’re going in, in our country, people are really struggling with their mental health.”
In a separate incident in San Diego, California, a mental health call to 911 ended in the officer-involved shooting death of Alfred Olango. Olango’s alleged sister called 911 on Sept. 27 to report her 30-year-old brother was having a mental health emergency. It was reported that Olango was walking in and out of oncoming traffic.
Responding El Cajon police officers arrived at the scene and encountered Olango, who reportedly was in a “shooting stance.” One officer shot Olango, who was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Olango’s death sparked outrage across cities, particularly the protocols for how officers deal with people with mental illness.
In August 2015, San Diego county invested $1.6 million towards its Psychiatric Emergency Response Teams (PERT), which pairs a licensed mental health clinician with a responding police officer or sheriff’s deputy to scenes of mental illness calls. However, a mental health clinician was not dispatched to the scene involving Olango.
The two officers involved in the Austin shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave, as is standard practice, pending an investigation.