WASHINGTON (AP) — A woman was reported in stable condition after being shot by a police officer in northeast Washington after allegedly refusing to drop a knife.
Metropolitan Police Department Cmdr. David Taylor said Saturday night that police were called to Clay Terrace, about 9 miles east of the White House, at about 6:15 p.m. for a report of fire. Responding officers were confronted by a woman holding at least one knife, he said. She was told to drop the weapon but did not comply and was shot once in the upper body as she advanced, Taylor said. The woman was taken to the hospital, Taylor said, and was reported in stable condition.
Police did not identify the woman or the officer who shot her Saturday, and the cause of the confrontation remained unclear.
The Washington Post reported (http://wapo.st/1gnNEhg) that D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said Saturday that the woman had "multiple knives" and that no rigid rules determine how officers are to respond in such circumstances.
"There is no policy that dictates every individual officer's perception and every individual officer's actions," she said.
At least two videos appeared to show the incident. In them, an officer points a pistol at a woman in a pink baseball-style hat. She appears to be about 8 to 10 feet away, advancing sporadically and unsteadily toward him.
"Put the knife down," one person can be heard shouting.
Soon after, a single pop is heard, accompanied by screams.
Lanier said she understood videos had been made at the scene, and asked that they be made available to police.
In interviews with the Washington Post, two witnesses said that when encountered by police, the woman had a knife, which they described as relatively small. One man, Gerald McBrayer, said the woman was holding "a little steak knife," and received no warning. Another man, Nathan Strickland, said she had a steak knife with what he described as a "skinny" 6 to 8-inch blade.
A fire department spokesman told the paper the cause of the fire on Clay Terrace was under investigation. It was not clear what connection the woman may have had with it.
Information from: The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/