Original article no longer available
By BEN DOBBIN, Associated Press Writer
July 11, 2005, 5:34 PM EDT
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A suicidal 13-year-old girl was shot and critically wounded when she rushed at a police officer with a kitchen knife, authorities said Monday.
Police said they were called to the girl’s home late Sunday after the teen threatened to kill herself with a knife and locked herself in a bathroom. An officer was talking with family members just inside the front door when she slipped downstairs, grabbed an 8-inch knife in the kitchen and charged toward them, said Acting Police Chief Cedric Alexander.
Officer Mark Simmons, a three-year veteran, attempted to back up and ordered her to drop the knife but she kept moving “very, very aggressively” toward him, her mother and her 18-year-old sister, Alexander said.
“This was not an opportunity to employ any other technique, any other measure whatsoever,” he said. “If we could have, we would have.”
The girl was struck in the abdomen, arm and finger and was listed in critical condition at a hospital Monday. But her wounds were not considered to be life-threatening, police said. The Associated Press is withholding the victim’s name.
Three emotionally disturbed men and a 14-year-old boy were killed in separate encounters with police in Rochester in 2002.
“In my 12 years (as mayor), I have seen too many of these fatalities,” Mayor William Johnson Jr. said. “In this instance … the officer not only acted in a justifiable manner but he acted according to his training and was able to prevent” someone being killed.
The girl had been suffering from depression. Even while she took her medication as usual earlier in the day, “something got her upset to the extent that she threatened herself and then when they called the police, apparently that just enraged her,” the mayor said.
The girl’s family, along with physical evidence, “substantiate the officer acted in an appropriate manner,” the police chief said, adding that an investigation was still under way.
“Absolutely, he (the officer) did the right thing,” the chief said. “He acted courageously, he did not move out of the way, he did not run … because, had he, certainly this woman would have stabbed one or two other people.
“When you have someone rushing you with an 8-inch blade … within 4 to 6 feet, which is really a very deadly zone, this officer and these other people are really very lucky not to be injured or killed themselves.”
Another knife that the girl had wielded in the bathroom was also recovered, he said