Midtown cops shoot, kill armed homeless woman

One of the knives the woman brandished.

Two NYPD officers shot and killed a homeless woman brandishing a knife Sunday night, a move that at least one group is decrying as unnecessary and poor police tactics.

Police said that around 8:30 p.m., officers responded to a dispute involving a knife at East 45th Street near Second Avenue.

The woman, 57, who was reportedly homeless and fighting with another woman, was holding two knives that officers ordered her to drop. When she refused and lunged at officers, according to the cops, the two officers fired several times, hitting her in the torso. She was pronounced dead at Bellevue Hospital.

Even though it has not been reported that the woman was mentally ill, Lisa Ortega, of Rights for Imprisoned People with Psychiatric Disabilities, said officers should only shoot as a last resort.

“They had other things they could have used,” she said, adding that they could have used a Taser or shot her in the legs. “You’re dealing with someone who lives in a homeless situation; you have to expect people to be high-strung. Your mind should be prepared for high escalation.”

“The last result would be to use your firearm. I don’t know what kind of target practice they get, but it doesn’t seem like they meant to maim,” she added.

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.


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