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Daughter says woman killed by police bullets had cancer

By Paula Morehouse, pmorehouse@ky3.com
Gene Hartley, ghartley@schurz.com
Published On: May 13 2014 03:27:14 PM CDT
Updated On: May 14 2014 12:20:30 AM CDT

Four law enforcement officers shot at and killed a woman on Tuesday afternoon near a storage facility on the west side of Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -

Four law enforcement officers shot at and killed a woman on Tuesday afternoon near a storage facility on the north side of West Sunshine Street (Missouri 413) at James River Freeway (Missouri 360) on the west side of Springfield.

Police Chief Paul Williams said the woman came out of one of the buildings at the storage facility with a gun in her hand and brandished it at police who were around her.  Four officers -- two Springfield police officers and two Greene County sheriff's deputies -- shot at her after she threatened them.  Williams didn't know whether the woman fired her gun at the officers.

KADI radio employees next door to A & A West Mini Storage, 2745 S. Maple Leaf Lane, say a man took cover about 3 p.m. inside the radio station, which is on Sunshine Street, and said a woman was shooting at him at the storage facility.  That man told the KADI employees that he fled but another man was trapped by the woman and was attempting to wrestle the gun from her.  Later, the second man also ran into the radio station.

About 3:15 p.m., workers at the radio station heard shots fired.  By 3:45, officers appeared to have the scene under control and the emergency appeared to be over.  Officers also required reporters and videographers to move farther away from the scene of the shooting and the site where the body was lying.

A large number of Greene County sheriff's deputies and Springfield police officers were at the scene.   Sheriff Jim Arnott was also there.  The area is near the west city limits.

Police didn't release the name of the woman who died.  A woman came to the scene and said she recognized her mother's body.  She said her mother, who lived and worked at the storage business, has been battling cancer for four years.  The daughter thought maybe the situation had just become too much for her mother.

Williams said the two departments would jointly do two separate investigations -- one by Criminal Investigations detectives and one by Internal Affairs officers to see if proper departmental procedures were followed.   Last Friday, a Springfield officer shot and injured an unarmed man who fled from him in east Springfield.  Similar investigations of that shooting are underway. 

The officers for both departments will be on paid administrative leave while the investigations are ongoing.

Crime scene investigators worked well into the night processing the scene.  They were still working at 10  p.m.

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News release from Lisa Cox, Springfield Police Department public information officer:

"At 2:43 p.m. today, Springfield police and Greene County deputies were dispatched to 5431 W. Sunshine, near the western city limits of Springfield, in reference to an armed female firing shots at two males.

"The males took cover in a nearby radio station, called 911 and avoided injury.  When officers arrived, they made contact with the female who then entered the office area of the storage facility, refusing to come out. When she did exit, she brandished her weapon and pointed it at officers.  Two SPD officers and two GCSO deputies fired at the female. She died, and the medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the official cause of death later this week. It is unknown at this time if she fired shots at the officers.  No officers were injured.

"The deceased female's identity will be released once her next of kin have been notified.

"Both agencies are jointly conducting a criminal investigation as well as an internal investigation of the incident.  Interviews of officers, witnesses and the victims will continue to occur as part of those investigations.  Both SPD officers and both GSCO deputies will remain on paid administrative leave during the investigation."