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Woman With Knife at Playground Shot And Killed By Police

Woman With Knife at Playground Shot And Killed By Police

(Stock Photo)

The Modesto Bee via YellowBrix

December 16, 2009

Police officers shot and killed a woman Tuesday after she walked onto the playground of a north Modesto elementary school, cutting herself in the head with a large knife in front of children and school officials.

The unidentified woman charged at officers, who were forced to “resort to the use of deadly force,” said Sgt. Brian Findlen, a Modesto police spokesman.

No other injuries were reported.

Police did not release the woman’s name Wednesday night, but they described her as a white woman in her early 40s. Findlen said she was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The school remained on lockdown for about 50 minutes, until about 3 p.m., when children were led out of classrooms in groups to their parents or guardians, who waited for them in front of the school.

Investigators spent most of the afternoon and evening gathering evidence at the scene and speaking to witnesses.

The incident occurred shortly after 2 p.m. at Catherine Everett Elementary School at 1530 Mount Vernon Drive, several blocks west of Tully Road and north of Briggsmore Avenue.

Findlen said some children were on the playground when the woman came on the campus with what appeared to be a meat cleaver. He said she was described as acting bizarre and “hitting herself in the head and upper body with the sharp edge of the blade.”

There was no indication the woman threatened any children or school employees, Findlen said.

Investigators were trying to determine whether the woman knew any students or employees, Findlen said, but there was no information that indicated she had a link to the school.

Findlen said some of the children saw the woman’s actions.

Quick action saluted

Police and school officials credited Principal Michael Brady and yard duty supervisor Trent Greer for speaking to the woman, distracting her as other staff members ushered the children into classrooms.

Findlen said the school officials continued to speak to the woman, but she did not respond.

At 2:08 p.m., police dispatchers received the first report from campus officials that the woman was on the school’s basketball courts, injuring herself with the knife.

Findlen said the children were inside their classrooms when two police officers arrived about three minutes later.

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