Woman shot by Va. police was holding fake gun

Posted at 5:24 PM, Mar 19, 2016

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A 25-year-old black woman was shot and killed by police officers in Virginia on Saturday after threatening them with what turned out to be a fake handgun, police said.

Investigators with the Norfolk Police Department's Vice and Narcotics Division were conducting a surveillance operation when they came across a fight in a parking lot, police said.

The officers saw a woman involved in the altercation brandish what they believed was a handgun and threaten an unarmed man. The officers approached India M. Beaty, who refused to comply with their demands and made a threatening motion with the handgun before the officers fatally shot her, the department said.

An investigation determined that the handgun was a non-firing replica.

In following with the department's protocol, the officers have been pulled from the field and placed on administrative duty until the investigation is complete. The department said it won't release the names of the officers while the investigation is under way. Cpl. Melinda Wray, a police spokeswoman, said she didn't know the races of the officers who were involved.

Beaty was pronounced dead at the scene. Beaty's family members told WAVY-TV that she was a mother of four.

Norfolk Police Chief Michael Goldsmith said his thoughts and prayers are with Beaty's loved ones.

"Any loss of life is tragic," Goldsmith said in a statement. "This morning's events affect not only my officers and Ms. Beaty's family members, but our entire community," he said.

The Virginian-Pilot reported that it was the third police-involved shooting in Norfolk this year.

Earlier this month, Norfolk police shot and killed Tyre Privott. The 25-year-old was a suspect in a killing and was confronted by police while walking in the road. Privott shot at police and an officer fired, striking and killing him, police said.