PITTSBURGH (AP) — A western Pennsylvania prosecutor has ruled that police officers were justified in shooting and killing a woman who fired at them from an abandoned house in Pittsburgh earlier this year.
District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. said Friday that the woman fired at officers who ordered her to leave the structure in the Allentown neighborhood of Pittsburgh on Feb. 24. Zappala said six more shots were fired from the building, and the woman then left the house “directing a gun at officers,” who fired, killing her.
“In evaluating a police officer’s actions, the most important thing is to determine whether or not the officers’ actions were taken in response to a legitimate and compelling threat,” Zappala said. “In this case, there’s no question. … She came out, she raised her weapon she had shot previously, and the officers, their lives were in danger.”
The woman’s husband told police that the house was a former family residence where her brother had recently died, and she had been sleeping in a tent inside the dilapidated structure. He also said she had mental health issues and was on medication, Zappala said.
Zappala said her blood alcohol level at the time of her death was an “extremely high” 0.461%, which “may have contributed to the fact that she did not respond the way the police expected her to or hoped that she would respond to their commands.”