A Phoenix police officer shot and killed a 50-year-old woman wielding a claw hammer Thursday in the northwest Phoenix neighborhood of Maryvale.
Officers went to the woman's apartment in the 3800 block of North Maryvale Parkway, near 51st Avenue and Indian School Road, about 2:15 p.m. to serve an emergency mental health pickup order.
The officers were told that Michelle Cusseaux had threatened to shoot members of the staff at a mental health facility and that she was believed to have a gun in her apartment, Sgt. Tommy Thompson said.
Officers tried to coax Cusseaux out of her apartment. She stood on the threshold of her apartment but refused to come out and slammed the door behind her as she went back inside.
Officers eventually pried the security door of the apartment open, and Cusseaux quickly opened the front door with the hammer raised above her head and rushed officers, Thompson said.
A 48-year-old police sergeant with 19 years on the Phoenix police force fired one shot, hitting Cusseaux, Thompson said. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died.
The sergeant was placed on administrative leave while criminal and internal investigations are completed, Thompson said.
"It's a situation when our officers go to serve mental health pickup orders, they are some of the most dangerous calls we go on because those people often have mental challenges," Thompson said.
Cusseaux's mother held a news conference outside the Phoenix Police Department on Friday afternoon with community activist and congressional candidate Jarrett Maupin. They say the shooting was the result of police brutality and excessive force.
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