Local News

Tuesday, Oct 01 2013 11:58 AM

'Suicidal' woman shot, killed by police

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Police shot and killed a woman in east Bakersfield whom they called "suicidal" after she pointed a gun at them Tuesday morning.

Maria Rita Zarate died in the 5000 block of Magic Avenue shortly after the 8:15 a.m. shooting, according to a coroner's office news release.

No officers were injured, and those involved in the shooting have been placed on routine administrative leave, police spokeswoman Michaela Sims said. A handgun was recovered at the scene.

Police were called to Magic Avenue about 7:45 a.m. for a report of a suicidal woman in the roadway. Sims said the officers and a mental health professional talked to the woman for 30 minutes trying to get her to put her handgun down.

Instead, the woman pointed the gun at the officers, who opened fire. It was not immediately known how many shots were fired, and Sims said it did not appear the woman fired her gun.

Judy Medina was drinking coffee in home just north of Magic Avenue when she heard the gunfire. She said it sounded like firecrackers, and she didn't know for sure a shooting had occurred until her mom went outside and saw the police cruisers.

Medina said she heard about six shots in a row. She said she's devastated by the incident.

"To me, this is a safe neighborhood," she said.

Another nearby resident, Florenda Beasley, said she saw a woman walking up and down the street on Monday talking to herself. Beasley said the woman seemed confused, but she wasn't sure if she was the same woman shot Tuesday.

"It's terrifying," Beasley said of the shooting. "You never know what's going on."

Anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to call Bakersfield police at 327-7111.

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