District of Columbia

Woman Told D.C. Officer She Was ‘Ready to Die,' Police Say

A woman who was shot by a District of Columbia police officer used synthetic drugs and PCP and told police she was "ready to die'' before she was shot, according to court documents.

Renita Nettles set a fire that brought firefighters to the 5300 block of Clay Terrace about 6:15 p.m. Saturday, police said. Near the same time, police received a call about a woman wielding a knife at the same location.

As firefighters worked to set out the house fire, Metropolitan Police Department officers saw a young woman holding a knife with one hand and swinging a multicolored sock with a heavy object inside it, police said.

An officer approached the woman, later identified as Nettles, and ordered her to drop the knife. Nettles refused, as dozens of bystanders watched, police said. The officer then pointed his gun at her and repeatedly ordered Nettles to drop the weapon, police said.

Bystanders also pleaded with Nettles, nicknamed Storm, to drop the knife and for the officer to not shoot her, witnesses said.

Nettles' mother arrived and tried to wrest the gun away from her daughter, but was unsuccessful, police said. Officers then ordered Angelenia Nettles to step away from her daughter, for her own protection. She complied and continued to scream at Renita Nettles to drop the knife and that police could shoot her.

"I'm ready to die," she responded, taking a step toward the officer, police said.

The officer then shot Nettles in the left shoulder, rushed toward her and took the knife away from her, police said.

One witness told News4 Nettles backed up as the officer approached her.

The confrontation was captured on video, though that video shows only a small part of the incident.

After the officer shot Nettles, police found she had seven other knives on her left hip and that the heavy item in the sock she swung was a hammer, police said.

Nettles was taken to a hospital and charged with arson, assault on a police officer and assault with a deadly weapon.

In an interview with police, Angelenia Nettles said her daughter had been using synthetic marijuana and PCP, and that she has bipolar disorder and does not consistently take prescribed medication.

Angelenia Nettles told police her daughter told her the house fire started when she accidentally left something on the stove.

Investigators determined the fire started in a closet near the kitchen, where clothes and other items had been set aflame. As firefighters rushed into the home, they tripped on extension cords that had been tied to doorknobs in an apparent attempt to hinder first-responders, police said.

The officer who shot her was placed on routine administrative leave with pay, pending an investigation.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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