A woman was killed in a Costco store in Sterling, Virginia Tuesday afternoon. A sheriff's deputy who opened fire on 38-year-old Mhai Scott, a contracted food demonstration services worker, killed the woman Tuesday afternoon after receiving a disorderly conduct report from Costco workers. The woman had been serving pizza in the Costco prior to being killed.
Why was Mhai Scott shot? It seemed the woman had been acting rather erratically toward the end of her shift at Costco serving pizza, at which time her employer said Scott began saying "crazy things" and was upset about the number of servings of pizza in a particular pizza box. Scott continued to act and move in a strange manner and then grabbed a knife. Mhai Scott's supervisor became scared, and soon workers from the Costco store placed a call to police for assistance with the situation.
The police were informed the woman was in the store armed with a knife and possibly scissors and was believed to be dangerous. The disorderly conduct report came to police around 3 p.m. at which time deputies reported to the Costco on Cascades Boulevard and Bartholomew Fair Drive in Sterling Virginia, where later the woman was killed.
One source for the Washington Post, Nora LaTeef, said uniformed sheriff's deputies burst into the store, dashing down aisles, and crouching as they moved, which indicated to LaTeef something serious must have happened. Moments later she heard the gunshots which killed the woman in the Costco store.
According to the Sheriff office spokesperson Liz Mills, upon entering the store deputies immediately "noticed erratic behavior" by a woman, presumed to be Scott, in a fairly crowded store.
Mills went on to report: "After loud commands were given to drop the weapons, she raised a weapon."
The officers tried first using a taser but it purportedly had no affect on the woman. "She continued to advance to the deputy, at which point lethal force was used," Mills said.
Another deputy then opened fire on the woman, releasing multiple shots. The exact number of shots is yet unknown, though witnesses are claiming four to six shots were heard. Mhai Scott was pronounced dead soon after the shots were fired.
Another deputy was also caught in the line of fire, suffering a wound to the leg, but he is expected to recover. As for the woman who was killed in Costco, no information is known about her funeral arrangements. "It's a tragic situation," said Sheriff deputy Chapman. "I feel for everybody involved."
An investigation and interviews of witnesses are currently underway, and surveillance tapes are being checked to see exactly what happened the afternoon the this woman was killed by sheriff in Costco. But Chapman let the press know he is "confident in the way our deputies responded." Still, many are left to wonder if perhaps the step taken by the officers was somewhat extreme. After all, four to six shots fired on a woman armed only with a knife seems like a disproportionate response to the threat, but perhaps as more details emerge the officer's actions will become clearer.
As more information becomes available about this developing story of a woman killed in a Costco store in Sterling, Virginia by a sheriff deputy, we'll be sure to update you. In the meantime, if you happened to be in the store during the incident and witnessed what happened, the Loundoun County Sheriff's Office is asking that all witnesses please call 703-777-0475 for an interview with a detective there.
Also feel free to watch the full sheriff's briefing about the woman killed in Costco in the video below.