Mentally Ill Woman Shot And Killed By Phoenix Police Officer

| by Kathryn Schroeder

A mentally ill 50-year-old woman was shot and killed by a Phoenix police officer.

Officers were attempting to serve a mental-health order to Michelle Cusseaux that would admit her to a mental-health facility, reports AZ Central.

Caseworkers "were trying to get her to come in for treatment. It got to the point that she wouldn't do that. ... She had a weapon and was making threats,” said Sgt. Tommy Thompson, a police spokesman.

Police opened the security door to Cusseaux’s home just as she was reportedly opening the front door with a claw hammer raised above her head.

The officers felt threatened and a patrol sergeant fired one shot from his gun. Cusseaux was struck in her chest with the bullet.

Cusseaux was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital.

Cusseaux suffered from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and serious mental illness.

The family of Michelle Cusseaux spoke out about the incident to AZ Central and hoped “her death would serve to educate the community on issues surrounding mental health.”

"Michelle, I could see needed help," her mother, Francis Garrett said, crying. "This is the end result by me asking for help for my daughter. She ended up shot."

Garrett upholds that her daughter was not a violent person.

"Michelle was a lovely person, a giving person who had a mental health problem," Garrett said.

The 19-year veteran who shot Cusseaux has been placed on routine, paid administrative leave.  There will be an internal investigation.

Photo Source: Placido's Police Corner/Flickr