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Woman shot by Sacramento officers after waving pellet gun, stirring up midtown coffee house

Sacramento police shot and wounded a woman that witnesses said had robbed a coffee shop before running through midtown streets with what appeared to be a handgun Saturday afternoon.

The shooting happened about 12:45 p.m. near the intersection of 28th and Q streets, according to the Sacramento Police Department when two officers fired on the woman as she confronted them just outside of Albert Winn Park.

Officers began receiving calls about a disturbance at about 12:15 p.m., the Sacramento Police Department said in a news release. The first report was of a person with a gun at a business on the 1100 block of 24th Street. About twenty minutes later, according to police, two more 911 calls were received about a woman waving at gun at 28th and N streets.

Sgt. Zach Eaton, a police spokesman, said one of those calls was from another business. The caller reported that a woman was pointing a silver handgun at people. Eaton said there were no shots fired inside either business, but he could not confirm whether a robbery or theft occurred.

All three callers gave similar descriptions of the woman.

Eaton said the uniformed K-9 officers arrived in the area and spotted the suspect. He said she quickly ran away from them and a foot pursuit then ensued.

“When the officers went to contact her, she took off running almost immediately,” Eaton said. “And one of our officers actually chased her.”

Police later said the K-9 handlers did not deploy their dogs in the incident.

Sacramento police officers on Saturday, May 20, 2023, work near evidence at a cordoned off area at 28th and Q streets, across from Winn Park, following an officer-involved shooting in midtown.
Sacramento police officers on Saturday, May 20, 2023, work near evidence at a cordoned off area at 28th and Q streets, across from Winn Park, following an officer-involved shooting in midtown.

At some point during the chase, the woman stopped and brandished what appeared to be a silver handgun and pointed it at the officers, Eaton said. Two of the officers fired their department-issued weapons. He said the woman was struck at least one time during the shooting.

Eaton said the woman was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she was being medically treated and expected to survive her injuries. No officers were injured. Police didn’t know whether she was experiencing homelessness and Eaton said it was not clear if the suspect said anything to officers before the shooting.

The woman pointed “a very realistic-looking” silver pellet gun at the officers during the confrontation, and it matched the description provided by the callers, Eaton said. Police later said the weapon, which was recovered, was an “airsoft firearm.”

Officers cordoned off several streets from 27th to 29th streets and from Q Street to the light-rail tracks outside the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op. Eaton said investigators were expected to be at the shooting scene at least throughout the afternoon, and he encouraged anyone who witnessed the incident to contact police.

Sacramento police and other law enforcement personnel gather in Winn Park on Saturday, May 20, 2023, following an officer-involved shooting in midtown.
Sacramento police and other law enforcement personnel gather in Winn Park on Saturday, May 20, 2023, following an officer-involved shooting in midtown.

According to witnesses in the park, the woman was seen running south along 28th Street. The witnesses, who did not want to be identified because they were consuming alcohol in the park, said the woman had waved what appeared to be a firearm as she ran from police. As she fled police, witnesses said, her shoes came off — they were resting about a block from where the chase ended.

Calls to police poured in two blocks north when the woman allegedly stole a tip jar from Mast Coffee.

Workers inside the cafe on the 1400 block of 28th Street, said the woman had entered the establishment brandishing a gun and had grabbed money from the tip jar.

One barista, who said she wasn’t authorized to speak about the ordeal, said the woman was known to the staff for frequently entering the store and causing disturbances. The barista said she had been barred from the coffee shop, but she did not know for how long.

A pair of shoes believed to belong to a woman shot by Sacramento police are seen at Winn Park on Saturday, May 20, 2023, in midtown.
A pair of shoes believed to belong to a woman shot by Sacramento police are seen at Winn Park on Saturday, May 20, 2023, in midtown.

Officer-involved shootings are typically investigated by the Police Department’s Homicide Unit, Internal Affairs Division and Professional Standards Unit, along with its Force Investigation Team to focus on policy, tactics and training in use of force.

Investigators from the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office were at the scene, along with representatives from the city’s Office of Public Safety Accountability, which provides oversight in police shooting investigations.

This is the second officer-involved shooting this year involving Sacramento’s force.

In February, officers wounded a carjacking suspect in North Sacramento after he allegedly rammed a police vehicle trying to flee arrest. Several days after the incident, body-worn camera from police footage showed 32-year-old Clayton Freeman resisting arrest in the back of a stolen car after police tried using a less-than-lethal stun gun to subdue him. He managed to drive the vehicle into patrol cars, pinning at least one officer’s leg in a car door, as multiple officers fired upon him.

Freeman remains in custody at the Sacramento County Main Jail while he prepares for trial.

A family prepares to cross Q Street from Winn Park, past a scene where Sacramento police work Saturday, May 20, 2023, following an officer-involved shooting in midtown.
A family prepares to cross Q Street from Winn Park, past a scene where Sacramento police work Saturday, May 20, 2023, following an officer-involved shooting in midtown.