The Washington Post

Three officers fatally shoot woman they say lunged at them with knife

This post has been updated.

Three Bladensburg police officers are on administrative leave following the fatal shooting Friday night of a woman who reportedly lunged at the patrol officers with a knife when they responded to a call at an apartment building in the town.

The officers went to the building in the 4200 block of 53rd Avenue about 10:30 p.m. after receiving a complaint of a woman brandishing a knife in a hallway, according to a statement from Bladensburg police.

The woman had threatened two building residents with the knife, prompting the police call, Bladensburg Police Chief Charles L. Owens said Saturday. The woman had returned to her apartment by the time police arrived. Owens said officers knocked on her door, “and when she opened it, she had the knife in her hand raised above her head.

“The officers issued orders several times to drop the knife, which she didn’t and she lunged at them,” Owens added.

The three officers fired at her simultaneously, he said. The woman later died at Prince George’s Hospital Center, police said.

Owens said police did not have previous contact with the woman or reports of similar incidents at the building.

The identity of the woman is being withheld pending notification of relatives, Owens said. He did say, however, that the woman was in her 40s.

The officers involved in the shooting have not yet been identified but all have been with the Bladensburg force for a year and two previously worked with other Maryland police departments, Owens said.

It is routine to put officers on administrative leave following a shooting, Owens said.

Police continue to investigate the incident.

Mary Pat Flaherty works on investigative and long-range stories. Her work has won numerous national awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.

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