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Home  >  Topics  >  Suicide by Cop

July 23, 2009
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Ga. officer fatally shoots suicidal woman, mother who called police

By Kate Brumback
Associated Press

ATLANTA — An officer who fatally shot an elderly woman and her daughter at a suburban Atlanta home was not aware when she was sent to the scene that the younger woman had said she wanted police to kill her, authorities said Wednesday.

The officer was responding to a 911 call around 9 p.m. Tuesday from 75-year-old Barbara Baker of Duluth, who reported that her daughter had threatened suicide, said Gwinnett County police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman.

As Baker was explaining to the responding officers that her daughter wanted police to shoot her, 51-year-old Penny Schwartz came down the stairs pointing a revolver, according to the police report. The 10-year police veteran felt threatened and fired, hitting both women, Spellman said.

Baker died at the scene and Schwartz died overnight from her injuries at Gwinnett Medical Center, police said.

The officer is shaken and receiving counseling, Spellman said. She would have responded differently had she known Schwartz wanted to die by police fire, Spellman said.

"She's doing as good as she can given the situation," Spellman said.

It is not clear how Baker ended up in the line of fire, and Gwinnett police are investigating, Spellman said. She said she couldn't release the 911 tape because of the ongoing investigation.

Baker told police her daughter was on prescription drugs and some sort of illegal drugs, Spellman said. But the spokeswoman declined to discuss the details of the 911 call and could not say whether the drug use was disclosed to the dispatcher or officers.

Baker had another daughter who was home during the shooting but did not witness it, Spellman said.

Associated PressCopyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Multiple phone calls to Baker's house, where the shooting happened, went unanswered Wednesday, and a phone number listed for Schwartz was disconnected.






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