Editor's Note -- These officers did a good job of trying a less lethal option against an emotionally disturbed person. But this scenario also reinforces the sound tactical idea of having deadly force standing by while attempting to use less lethal options against a deadly weapon.
-- Street Survival instructor Dave Smith
PLAINVIEW, Texas – Two police officers shot and killed a woman at an apartment complex for mentally and physically disabled people Thursday after the woman ignored repeated pleas to drop a 14-inch knife, authorities said.
It was the second officer-involved shooting in this rural West Texas town of 22,300 since September.
The shooting occurred when an officer was backing away after trying to subdue the woman by firing two rounds from a beanbag shotgun, Plainview police Capt. Michael Carroll said.
"He tripped on something and the other two officers then fired as she was still coming," Carroll said.
Police were called to the complex about 4:15 a.m. after a tenant heard an alarm in the apartment. When they opened the door they found the woman holding the knife and she was threatening officers, Carroll said.
Carroll said it is believed the woman, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was shot three times. An autopsy is pending. She had a history of mental problems, Carroll said.
Police did not release the woman's name Thursday pending notification of relatives. She had lived in the 20-unit complex for 20 years, Bethesda Manor Inc.'s assistant manager Gayle Walker said.
"She was a dear, sweet lady," Walker said. "We thought a lot of her and she will be missed."
The officers – Sgt. Dion Guerra, Cpl. Mike Hurst and officer Art McIntee – were placed on paid administrative leave.
The September shooting was the first officer-involved shooting in Plainview in about a decade. Jose Ceballos Jr. was wielding a knife when police forced open the door of a house and shot him as he approached. His cousin, Leonor Pacheco, said Ceballos was mentally ill and that he didn't believe officers needed to shoot him. A grand jury later declined to indict the officer.
Plainview is about 300 miles northwest of Dallas.