A woman was shot dead by American police after walking into a primary school playground wielding a big knife, it emerged today.
She was hitting herself over the head with what appeared to be either a large butcher knife or meat cleaver, witnesses said.
‘It was really scary, she was like bleeding to death,’ said Devin Walski, 11, who was ordered indoors by worried teachers at the school in Modesto, California.
‘I was afraid for all my friends in my classroom, and the little kids,’ added Devin, who had been walking to a music lesson when the drama began.
When police arrived minutes later, the unnamed woman, who is in her 50s, allegedly charged two of the officers.
At least one of the officers pulled out a gun and shot her.
Witnesses heard four shots fired but police did not reveal how many times she was hit.
She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The school, which was put under lockdown at 2pm yesterday when the woman was seen, was not opened again until more than an hour afterwards.
At that point, children were led out of the classrooms in groups to their parents who were waiting for them in front of Catherine Everett Elementary School.
‘I was hoping it wasn’t this school,’ said Rhiannon Green, describing her fears as she drove to pick up her two sons, ages 9 and 5, at Everett Elementary. ‘
I just want my kids out.’
Police Sergeant Brian Findlen credited teachers with ‘quickly locking down and getting students into locked classrooms.’
Police did not know what connection, if any, she may have had with the school.
The officers who opened fire have been placed on routine paid administrative leave while Modesto police and the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office investigate.
No students or staff members at Catherine Everett Elementary School were injured in the incident.