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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

He said the officers approached the woman and she charged at them, carrying the knife. Both officers fired shots, hitting the woman.

Kris Silva, 32, lives across the alley east of the school. He said he heard the incident unfold from his home.

“I was in the back yard when I heard a lot of screaming; it was the children screaming,” Silva said. “About 15 minutes later, I heard a barrage of gunshots. It was about five to six gunshots.”

Silva said he ran to look into the school’s playground through the cyclone fence that borders the campus. “I saw someone lying on the ground, and the police officers were standing nearby.”

Silva’s daughter is a second-grader at the school. He waited nervously along with hundreds of other parents and relatives who were notified of the incident through the school’s automated phone messaging service.

Counselors at the ready

School officials said classes will resume today, and counselors will be available to students and staff at the school.

Modesto police officials will be on campus this morning to discuss the incident and answer questions to reassure parents the school is safe. Officers will provide extra patrols around the campus today.

“This is a tragic and unfortunate set of circumstances,” said acting Modesto Police Chief Mike Harden, who was on campus helping school officials release children to their parents. “We need to take some time to find out why this individual did this. What’s her story?”

It was the second officer- involved shooting by a Modesto police officer in four days and the fourth this year.

On Saturday, officers shot and wounded an 18-year-old man suspected of running away from an attempted burglary and driving a pickup directly at officers early Saturday at Johansen High School in east Modesto.

Michael Baker of Modesto suffered a gunshot wound to the chest that was not life-threatening and was taken by ambulance to a hospital for treatment, Findlen said.

Findlen said the two officers who fired their weapons in Tuesday’s shooting were placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated, which is standard procedure in officer- involved shootings.

Investigations begin

Modesto police detectives and investigators from the Stanislaus County district attorney’s office are investigating the incident, which also is routine.

Harden said the officers in Tuesday’s shooting were trying to protect themselves and the children. He said it’s a tragic event when a police officer has to use deadly force.

“Now, imagine you have to do that at a school where there are children,” Harden said. “They might not have seen (the shooting) happen, but surely they heard it.”

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