An ax-wielding woman was shot dead by a Tennessee cop as she walked toward him after she had stabbed another officer trying to serve her with an eviction notice, authorities said.
Laronda Sweatt, 40, was fatally shot by Officer James Spray on Wednesday after she allegedly threatened him with an 18-inch ax that included an elaborately designed skull.
She was walking toward the cop as he yelled for her to “get on the ground” and “drop it,” according to body camera footage released by the Gallatin Police Department.
Spray had responded to a Sumner County Sheriff’s Deputy’s call for help after he had allegedly been stabbed by Sweatt as he served her an eviction notice around 9 a.m.
Authorities said Spray was backed up against his vehicle as Sweatt came at him, but dash cam footage from an arriving officer shows that he was actually forced back onto the second cop’s car when he fired.
Sweatt was also carrying a 16-inch sword tucked into her pants, a “ninja star” in one of her pockets and a 5-inch folding knife that she threw to the ground before the confrontation, police told the New York Daily News.
Spray fired two shots at Sweatt, who died after being taken to a local hospital.
Officials said officers met with members of the Gallatin black community to show them the full footage of the incident.
But Sweatt’s daughter told the Tennessean that her mother’s death could have been avoided and that she was provoked.
“She didn’t bother you unless you messed with her or her daughter,” Alainna Sweatt, 22, said. “That’s the only time she got upset. Other than that, she stayed to herself.”
Relatives said that the footage released to the general public was only “half the story that the police wants you to see,” and that while Laronda Sweatt was bipolar, she “wasn’t a bad person.”
Spray has been put on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is also investigating the incident.
The deputy who was injured while trying to serve an eviction notice was in the process of pulling out his Taser when he was attacked, cops said.
He received about 20 staples to the front side of his body after he was taken to the hospital, the News wrote. He was released the same day.
“Our hearts are heavy as a life was taken and we ask the community to lift up prayers for the Sweatt family along with the law enforcement families of those involved and the employees of the Gallatin Housing Authority who witnessed this tragic incident,” the Gallatin Police Department said in a statement.