Suicidal woman shot and killed by law enforcement - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Suicidal woman shot and killed by law enforcement

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COVINGTON, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Sunday morning's shooting happened in a very busy shopping center in Covington where hundreds of people come each day.  Resident Brian Collins said it's hard to see what happened in Covington on Sunday morning because of how many people go through the area.  But, he thinks the situation could have been much worse.

Video shot by an eyewitness shows Natella Ruth Blackwell, 64, holding a gun by her right side.  Covington and the Tipton County Sheriff's Office said she had been shooting at cars and 18 wheelers before police and deputies arrived.

Officers say they told Blackwell to put down the gun, but she wouldn't answer.  Investigators say she had the gun at her side when she turned around.  In the video you can see her pull up her arms as she turned.  That's when deputies and officers opened fire and shot her.  Blackwell was taken to the hospital where she later died.

Officials say it all started Sunday morning around 8 a.m. with a call about a suicidal party at her home on Marshall Road in Munford.  Investigators say Blackwell's husband called the Tipton County Sheriff's office and told them she had left the home with a handgun.

Law enforcement believe this may have been a "suicide by cop."  It's a tragic scenario that unfolded in a public place.  Residents say it will be very hard for people in the area to get over.  But, over time they believe the memories will fade.

The officers and deputies involved have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.  This happens anytime an officer or deputy is involved in a shooting.

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