Woman killed by Fayetteville police in struggle over weapon, official said

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Fayetteville Assistant Police Chief James Nolette speaks during a news conference early Saturday morning. Officers shot and killed a woman Friday evening during a struggle over a weapon on Colgate Drive, he said.
Fayetteville Assistant Police Chief James Nolette speaks during a news conference early Saturday morning. Officers shot and killed a woman Friday evening during a struggle over a weapon on Colgate Drive, he said.

Fayetteville police shot and killed a woman “in a crisis” during a struggle over a weapon at a Colgate Drive home Friday night, an official said.

According to police, the shooting happened after officers were called at 9:41 p.m. to the 2300 block of Colgate Drive on a report of an attempted break-in.

During a 1:15 a.m. news conference Saturday, Assistant Police Chief James Nolette said that the caller reported four armed men were trying to break into the home. When officers arrived on the scene, they contacted a mother, daughter, grandmother and grandfather, Nolette said.

Nolette said that after a 30-minute discussion, where officers found no evidence of a break-in and noted inconsistencies in the initial story, the young woman pulled out a weapon and threatened to harm herself.

“She came off having — as if she was in a crisis —  tragically in a crisis … and then suddenly she produced a firearm, she produced a handgun,” he said.

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He said officers spent nearly an hour within feet of the woman “trying to deescalate it, trying to talk her down … trying to get her to relinquish the handgun, trying to get her to put it down, trying to work with her to get help.”

At one point, he said, the woman agreed to “some assistance offered through Cape Fear Valley,” and an ambulance was called to the scene.

During the incident, he said, not only were officers in close proximity with the woman, but the grandmother and young child were as well.

“They’re in harm’s way, the officers are in harm’s way …but we continually tried to deescalate the situation, relentlessly trying to get her to put this weapon down so she could get the help that she needs,” he said.

After about an hour, he explained, either one or both of the officers attempted to disarm the woman.

“The struggle went to the ground and tragically, officers discharged their firearm,” he said.

He did not clarify if one or both officers fired their weapons. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Her name was not released.

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According to Nolette, the two officers have been placed on administrative leave and the Fayetteville Police Department has requested the State Bureau of Investigation conduct a probe into the shooting.

According to a news release, the Fayetteville Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit will conduct an internal investigation "to ensure all departmental policies and procedures were adhered to during the incident."

Nolette said body cameras worn by either one or both officers captured the shooting and a preliminary review of the footage was made “just to get an idea of the true facts that occurred there, not just perception.”

That footage, he said, will be turned over to the SBI.

Military & crime editor F.T. Norton can be reached at fnorton@fayobserver.com.

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This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Officers shoot kill woman on Colgate Drive in Fayetteville