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Police probe gunshot death
Written by Greg Ruland   
Friday, 08 April 2011 00:00

Cottonwood police declined to comment on an Arizona Department of Public Safety criminal investigation into the shooting death of an unidentified woman Saturday, April 2, Sgt. Gareth Braxton said.

Officer Steve Phoenix shot the 60-year-old woman near Sixth and 10th streets sometime after 4 p.m., but Braxton could not say exactly when the shooting took place. Braxton said he was purposely ignorant of whether the woman was shot once or more than once because such details are facts under investigation.

“I don’t want to say anything that would jeopardize their investigation,” Braxton said.

Police identified the woman from documents she was carrying but will not release her name until next of kin are notified. No kin were located as of noon Monday, April 4, he said.

The woman was shot in the chest with an AR-15 rifle after she threatened suicide and brandished two handguns, Braxton said.

“Officers attempted to make contact with the subject, but she refused all commands,” Braxton said. “She started walking out onto Main Street. Officers tried to make contact with her and at some point she reached for a gun.”

“They tried to Taser her three times,” he said. The Taser failure was not explained.

A call to police about the woman came in at 3:45 p.m. Police made contact with her at 3:48 p.m. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Phoenix was placed on paid administrative leave, a customary practice after an officer-involved shooting incident, Braxton said.

Once the criminal investigation into the officer’s actions is complete, a separate administrative investigation will take place to determine if the officer’s actions fell within departmental policy.

“Obviously, we need to gather all of the facts and make sure we have a complete story as to how the events unfolded, in order to avoid speculation,” Braxton stated in a press release. “You can expect a meticulous investigation to occur as you would with any situation such as this.”


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