Virginia State Police are investigating the death of a woman who authorities say fatally shot herself while being transported to a mental hospital in a patrol vehicle.
State police Sgt. Brent Coffey told the Free Lance-Star the incident happened as a Spotsylvania County Sheriff's cruiser was leaving a Fredericksburg hospital early Monday morning, taking a 30-year-old woman to Western State Hospital.
The woman “had been combative at the hospital and with deputies” before she was secured in the back of a Ford Explorer, Coffey wrote in an email. As the SUV left the parking lot, he said, “The female fired one round from a handgun that was in her possession.”
Coffey told the newspaper she died at the scene of a “self-inflicted gunshot.” He said there's no evidence that either deputy in the front seat fired their weapons and neither deputy was injured.
An autopsy will be conducted.
If you or a loved one need mental health help, it is available. Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). It's free and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.