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Vernon Police Kill Woman After Three-Hour Standoff

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A woman who barricaded herself in her car Tuesday afternoon in a Vernon parking lot and kept police at bay for three hours was killed when she pointed a gun at officers, authorities said.

The ordeal began when the woman, who has not been identified, shot another woman near a McDonald’s restaurant, said Vernon Police Lt. Jim Wolht. The victim ran into the restaurant for help, and employees called police.

At about 2 p.m., police who responded to the scene spotted a black, four-door sedan with a woman in her 30s inside who matched the victim’s description of her assailant, Wolht said. The car was parked in a lot on Bandini Street near the McDonald’s, and the woman had a handgun.

“Vernon police contacted the woman in the car, but were unsuccessful in their attempt to get her out,” said Sheriff’s Sgt. George Ducoulombier. “They then notified the special weapons team from the Sheriff’s Department.” For three hours, the woman refused to leave her car. She occasionally tossed out notes, but authorities did not reveal the contents.

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At about 5 p.m., crisis negotiators in an armored truck tried to approach the woman and bring her a phone to communicate with them, said Sheriff’s Sgt. David Halm. At first, she motioned the deputies to approach, authorities said. But as they did, walking beside and behind the armored truck, she waved her handgun several times toward the negotiators, he said.

“At one point, she raised the weapon and pointed it directly at the deputies,” who were by now about 25 feet away, Halm said. “One of our long-rifled deputies fired and struck the suspect.”

The sharpshooter was at least 100 yards away.

The first victim was taken to a local hospital with a gunshot wound in the shoulder. She was reportedly in good condition.

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Police don’t know the motive for the initial shooting, but they believe the women know each other.

After the fatal shooting, a sheriff’s helicopter at the scene struck a low-power electrical line and landed in the parking lot. No one was injured.


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