Investigators looking into the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old woman by Huntington Beach police announced Wednesday that officers had tried to use nonlethal weapons, but she lunged at them with a knife before they were ready.
The two officers responding to a 911 call that Ashley MacDonald was walking through a residential area with a knife had called, respectively, for guns that shoot rubber bullets and beanbags, said Jim Amormino, a Sheriff’s Department spokesman.
When the woman lunged at them with the knife, however, the officer with rubber bullets was loading his weapon and an officer with a beanbag gun was still on his way, Amormino said. The officers repeatedly warned MacDonald to “drop the knife” before firing, he said.
The two officers who shot MacDonald have been heavily criticized by her neighbors and friends, who charge that they should have been able to subdue the 120-pound woman.