Tennessee police officer fatally shoots ax-wielding woman

AP News
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Posted: Apr 07, 2016 3:19 PM

GALLATIN, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities in Tennessee say an officer fatally shot a woman who attacked with a medieval-style ax.

News outlets report 40-year-old Laronda Sweatt of Gallatin became combative when Sumner County sheriff's deputy Gary Pickard accompanied housing authorities to serve an eviction notice on her Wednesday.

Gallatin police said in a news release it sent several officers when Pickard requested help. Sweatt then threatened Gallatin Officer James Spray with the ax and Spray shot her. Officers immediately began medical treatment on Sweatt, who later was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The incident comes amid a national debate and increased scrutiny over police treatment of black people and several deaths that have made international headlines. Sweatt is black. Spray, who's white, has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

Sweatt's mother want answers, too.

Ella Sweatt said in a telephone interview Thursday that her daughter was bipolar and the housing authority knew about her condition. She said authorities didn't give advance notice that they were coming to see Laronda Sweatt, who had wanted to work out a payment agreement for her rent.

"She wasn't a bad person," Ella Sweatt said. "She didn't weigh but 94 pounds."

The police report said Laronda Sweatt was shot twice.

"I want to know why he did her like that," Ella Sweatt said. "He didn't have to."

No one from the Gallatin Housing Authority or with the Sumner County Sheriff's Office or Gallatin police immediately responded to telephone messages Thursday.