Mesa police shot and killed a 43-year-old woman they say was suicidal, pointed a handgun at them and shot at them Tuesday.
After Debra Bruneault had randomly fired at police, she pointed the gun at SWAT officers who then opened fire on her at a home in the 1600 block of North Sawyer Road, said Sgt. Ed Wessing, a police spokesman.
The three-hour ordeal began about 7:30 p.m., when a woman reported that her aunt was threatening suicide and was inside the garage with the car running and door closed.
Officers arrived at the home near McClellan Road and tried talking with the woman when she held up a revolver, not pointing at anyone, but refusing to drop it. The officers backed out and called the SWAT team.
A neighbor who lives on the street said she was taking out the trash when she noticed two police cars in front of Bruneault's residence and saw officers "scattering" from the house.
The SWAT team arrived moments later. Officers said they believed they heard gunshots coming from inside the house and evacuated nearby residents.
Officers were able to speak with Bruneault on the phone and negotiated with her on and off for two hours.
Bruneault's family told police she had a history of mental illness and that she often gets depressed around her birthday, which was last month. "She was obviously upset," Wessing said.
Bruneault's family could not be reached for comment, and the neighborhood remained taped off late Wednesday.
During the incident, Bruneault could be seen through a front window pointing the gun at her head.
SWAT shot a gas canister into the house, forcing the woman into the backyard, but she went back inside and fired one or two rounds through the front door at officers, striking a police car and another car parked on the street. One officer returned fire, Wessing said.
Officers shot another gas canister inside, and she came out holding the pistol behind her leg. She then pointed the gun at officers, and five of them opened fire.
Police said the woman shot at least three rounds at officers throughout the ordeal.
The incident was the seventh officer-involved shooting of the year, six of which resulted in death.
Bruneault was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, said Detective Steven Berry, a police spokesman.
Mesa police were still trying to determine which officers were involved in the shooting and will place them on paid administrative leave, per department policy pending the outcome of the investigation, Berry said.
An official for the Mesa Police Association, a union representing Mesa police officers, said he is confident that the investigation will determine that the officers' shooting was appropriate.