PITTSBURGH — A 68-year-old woman who authorities say was having a breakdown and threatening others at her northwestern Pennsylvania home waved a knife at police officers who were called to respond and one of them shot her to death, state police said Wednesday.
Troopers say the dead woman is Marilyn Elizabeth Peterson. They have not identified the Oil City police officer who shot the woman, or two others who were involved in the call.
Authorities expected an autopsy will confirm she died from a single shot fired by the officer about 9 p.m. Tuesday. The Venango County coroner did not return calls.
“Preliminary indications are that the officers were responding to a call of a person with reported mental issues” when she attacked one officer with a knife and was shot, state police Capt. Steve Ignatz said.
The officers responded to a report about a domestic incident in which Peterson was the aggressor, state police said in a release. She brandished a large knife toward them and then pointed it toward herself in a threat to kill herself, according to Trooper Michelle McGee.
When officers told Peterson to drop the knife, she instead moved toward the officers “waving the knife in a slashing motion,” the release said.
She ignored attempts by police to try to stop her without using lethal force, though McGee could not immediately comment on how they tried to stop her. Eventually, one of the officers shot her in the upper torso.
She was taken to UPMC Northwest hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.
Oil City police referred questions to the state police, who are investigating along with District Attorney Marie Veon. It is common for an outside police agency and the county prosecutor to review a police shooting to determine if it was justified, especially when someone is killed.
All three Oil City officers have been assigned administrative duties while the shooting is being investigated.