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Officers Investigate Shooting Death of 70-Year-Old Woman By Police

October 27, 1986

DALLAS (AP) _ Officers were justified in the fatal shooting of a 70-year-old woman who had fired shots at what she thought were burglars at a neighbor’s home, police said as a councilwoman called for a probe of the death.

Etta P. Collins died early Sunday at Parkland Hospital, less than an hour after she was shot twice on her porch, said police spokesman Ed Spencer.

Ms. Collins had called police to report seeing burglars next door, and Spencer said she reportedly fired five shots as police arrived. Officer M.E. Crause told investigators that the woman pointed a revolver at him twice and twice ignored warnings to drop her weapon before he fired at her.

″We are all devastated by the set of circumstances that created this situation,″ said Deputy Chief Ray Hawkins. ″But an officer is justified in deadly force in defense of his own life or a third party’s life.″

Relatives, who described Ms. Collins as a semi-invalid, say they want an investigation into the shooting.

″Why did they kill her?″ asked Charles Wren, her brother. ″They could have called the SWAT team if they saw her fire her gun.

″She’s just an old woman. She’s never been arrested for anything, and now she’s dead.″

Councilwoman Diane Ragsdale, who represents the area where the shooting occurred, said she wants an explanation and called for a council hearing on the police department’s policies on the use of deadly force.

Crause told investigators he acted instinctively when the woman pointed her the pistol at him a second time, Spencer said. ″Crause said he fired because he was in fear for his life. He didn’t know what he had.″

A .22-caliber pistol with five spent shells and one live bullet was found beside the body, he said.

The burglary next door netted $25 worth of items, police said.

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