Mesa police kill woman - East Valley Tribune: News

Mesa police kill woman

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Posted: Sunday, September 7, 2003 2:32 am | Updated: 2:05 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

For the second time in two weeks, Mesa police Saturday shot and killed a person who had a knife after officers’ efforts to use a stun gun failed.

A 23-year-old woman was shot multiple times by a police sergeant in her home at the Citrus Grove Trailer Park, 1007 W. Main St., after police say she charged a group of officers. Her name is being withheld.

An area resident, Dolores Lowrance, 39, was skeptical that efforts to use a stun gun and bean bags could not stop the woman.

"When are they going to stop shooting people," Lowrance asked, putting her arm around her teenage son.

Neighbors had called 911 to report a woman had been walking around the trailer park harassing people with a gun. Police arrived at the trailer park about 6:30 p.m. and spotted the woman standing in the doorway of her home, said Mesa police detective Tim Gaffney.

After the woman refused several times to come out, police attempted to subdue her using a stun gun and bean bags, Gaffney said.

However, the non-lethal attempts failed and the woman charged the group of officers with a knife, Gaffney said.

Neighbors said they heard the police call for the woman to "drop the knife." But she refused, Gaffney said, and a sergeant fired several times. Witnesses said they heard about five or six shots.

The officers attempted to perform CPR on the woman, but their efforts were unsuccessful. She was taken to Scottsdale Osborn hospital where she was pronounced dead, Gaffney said.

Police would not say how many shots were fired or where the woman was hit.

Don Riggs, 42, who lives in a trailer across from the one where the woman was killed, said he saw the woman about 15 to 20 minutes before she died and didn’t see a gun.

Riggs, whose windows were open, said he heard the police fire the bean bags and call out to the woman to drop her weapon.

Saturday’s shooting comes just two weeks after Mesa police gunned down a suicidal 15-year-old boy in front of his parents. Mario Madrigal Jr. died shortly after 1 a.m. Aug. 25 inside his family’s home in the 500 block of South Johnson, within a mile of Saturday’s shooting.

The Madrigals said they called police after their son threatened to kill himself with a kitchen knife.

In that shooting police said a stun gun was used and also failed.

Since their son’s death, the Madrigals have been outspoken critics of the Mesa Police Department.

"I would like to have justice and to prosecute these people who killed my son," Martha Madrigal said at her son’s public viewing on Friday.

Although the shootings were in the same general area, the officers involved work at different stations, Gaffney said.

But the latest shooting has some neighborhood residents worrying about the police officers who patrol their neighborhood.

People gathered around the scene Saturday were angry with the Mesa Police Department, saying they now feared calling police for help.

"Cops are supposed to be people’s friends," said Bill McEwen, 62, who lives in an adjacent trailer park. "So why do I have to fear going to them for help?"

The shooting will be investigated by the police department and overseen by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Gaffney said. After the shooting investigation, the city also will conduct an internal inquiry, he said.

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