A sniper with the Austin police department’s SWAT unit is on paid administrative leave after a standoff resulted in the execution of a woman who was already threatening suicide.
Police were summoned to a North Austin apartment early Sunday morning after the victim’s boyfriend called 9-1-1 claiming the 31-year-old woman was threatening to take her own life.
Police say they attempted to negotiate with the woman in person and over the phone for hours, but that she refused to cooperate or obey orders.
“She said she wasn’t going to jail,” a neighbor who overheard the negotiations told KEYE-TV. “They told her, ‘We won’t take you to jail. We’ll take you to get some help.’ She wasn’t having that.”
“Investigators say she started to yell profanities and gesture at police,” reported KVUE.
When the woman attempted to exit the home against orders, officers fired “less-lethal” projectiles at her, prompting her to go back inside and grab a gun which investigators say she previously had holstered.
“Police tell us she came out of the apartment holding a weapon – first pointing it at herself, and then pointing it at SWAT officers,” reported NBC affiliate KXAN.
At that point, the SWAT sniper opened fire, killing the woman.
Austin’s assistant police chief issued a statement describing the officer’s actions.
“At one point a SWAT sniper observed that she had placed the other SWAT members in an immediate danger pointing a weapon at them and he fired shots toward her and the subject is deceased as a result of that use of force,” Assistant Police Chief Brian Manley said.
“This is a very critical incident for this community, and it’s important that we’re all here. When we’re put into a situation where we take a life, we take that very seriously,” said Manley.
The victim’s name has not yet been released.