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NY officer's use of gun, not Taser, in fatal shooting of mentally ill woman probed

Gunfire erupted near a Bay Area high school and terrified students were forced to run for cover. A manhunt is underway for the gunmen who opened fire.

Authorities say a New York City police officer shot and killed an emotionally disturbed, 66-year-old woman wielding scissors and a baseball bat, and investigators want to know why he didn't use his stun gun instead. The state attorney general's office says it's determining whether the shooting falls under its jurisdiction. Police say the sergeant had persuaded the woman to drop the scissors Tuesday night but then fired after she swung the bat in a Bronx apartment. Assistant Chief Larry Nikunen says the sergeant had a Taser. He says the reason it was not deployed will be part of the investigation.

We failed. I want to know why it happened. That's not how it's supposed to go. It's not how we train; our first obligation is to preserve life, not to take a life when it can be avoided.

New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill

The name of the woman, who was pronounced dead at a hospital, was not immediately released. Police had previously been to her apartment to handle similar disturbances, Nikunen said. The shooting follows a string of incidents that have put law enforcement across the country under heightened scrutiny over the use of lethal force, especially against minorities and the mentally ill. In a California shooting last month that sparked protests, an officer in El Cajon responding to a report of a man acting erratically shot him to death. Police said the man had pointed an object, later determined to be a vaping device, at the officer. O'Neill conceded the latest shooting could exacerbate animosity toward officers.

Instances like what happened last night in the Bronx certainly don't make it better. They just increase the tension.

O'Neill, on community hostility over shootings by police
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