Woman With Pick Axe and Baseball Bat Gets Shot by Police Officer

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Nashville, Tennessee — Metro Nashville Police released body-camera footage of a woman who was shot by an officer after charging at a fellow officer with a pick axe and baseball bat. Officers responded just after 5 p.m. to a residence in the 2800 block of Greer Road where a reportedly suicidal woman, Melissa Wooden, 33, had made statements that she wanted police to shoot her. Madison Precinct Officers Brandon Lopez, Ben Williams, and Thomas Denenea arrived at the location and were awaiting backup when they encountered Wooden in the front lawn near the road.

She was armed with a pick axe and baseball bat. Efforts at dialogue with Wooden were unsuccessful. Officer Williams deployed his Taser which appeared to have no impact. Wooden then charged Officer Williams with the pick axe and baseball bat. Officer Lopez fired on her in defense of Officer Williams and a family member of Wooden’s who was nearby. Wooden was transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center where she is in stable condition.

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** (Disclaimer: This video content is intended for educational and informational purposes only) **

Author: rafael.nieves


45 thoughts on “Woman With Pick Axe and Baseball Bat Gets Shot by Police Officer

  1. I know it is easy to play armchair QB but I have a few thoughts. First, these police did several things very right. I was applauding them in the beginning. Unfortunately IMO they also did several things wrong. For the record, I am not a LEO professional and I could be totally wrong but as a fly on the wall, these are simply my thoughts…

    First of all, they should use more "I" vs. YOU statements. This is psych 101 stuff. YOU statements make the other person defensive, upset and more angry. They escalate vs de-escalate. They should avoid saying things like "YOU know how this is going to end." "Are YOU on drugs." "What did YOU take." That paints a mental picture of something negative. They should take the exchange to a completely other place- inject some humor and mental judo. Ask them about a time when they were last happy. What is your favorite thing in the world? Tell them something embarrassing about themselves- get them to laugh at your expense. Get the person at least a little more relaxed and in a better frame of mind. If they smoke, maybe offer them a cigarette- you get the idea. At first the officer had a great, non-threatening tone. Several times he said he was not going to shoot her (then he did???) She was not attacking when she was tasered. Even if there was some type of technical legal justification for the deployment, it only escalated things.

    Although it might be helpful information to them, constantly asking or implying that the person is on drugs doesn't help and again, is negative and escalating in nature. Maybe ask once, then drop it. Catching the dry mouth was a great observation.

    This is huge, they n e v e r e v e r should have allowed that woman to approach the scene. She quickly escalated the situation and made things far worse. She was also now directly in the line of potential cross-fire which is also a liability to the department (not ensuring public safety.) They absolutely should have forcefully ordered her 50 feet back. Treat the scene like the burning house fire it truly is. She should have been assertively been told to not say a single word or be arrested immediately. Too often people think they have to reason, argue and litigate aka hold court in the street, during a crisis situation. It's both a distracting and dangerous practice. Police very much need better deescalation training. Shooting is not the only way to end a dangerous situation. It should only be considered as a very last option. These days, it's a quick 3rd option. Chat (escalate), yell, Taser, then Shoot. It's a very clear pattern.

    Fun fact: On Feb. 18th of this year, we "Perseverance rover" traveled 186.19 million miles, then literally landed on Mars (received very little coverage.) It dropped out of a mother vehicle, then using rockets and gyros, landed itself on the red planet. With this in mind, for purposes of contrast, your telling me that our scientists can't design a more effective less than lethal solution? They do exists and it baffles me why the decision not to use them isn't being adopted. Tasers are notoriously hit and miss, period. Yet they dominate the market. I sincerely wonder why that is the case. Why not have a policy that two different types of LTLeathal solutions must be deployed at the same time, when possible.

    I do like how the one officer did not have his gun out (very deescalating) and he maintained a relatively safe distance. Although, he could have backed up even more. From an office safety perspective it can be legitimately argued that a person could close that distance in literally about 1.5 seconds (actual proven number.) The car and crossfire could have limited the other officers ability to shoot safely. The 21-Foot Rule essentially says that in <21 feet, a person can overcome the "reactionary gap" (time it takes an officer to deploy his weapon.) She did not look much more than 21 feet away.

    I realize these exchanges cannot go on forever but IMO they could have invested more time than a coffee break to help this person in distress. Physically starting the process to approach her in ~6 minutes very clearly began escalating a still tense situation which led to yet another shooting. It looked to me like they simply gave it their best shot, ran out of options and in frustration, wanted to try to push to end this situation. IMO, this points to a lack of training. There were many more things they could have tried. For example, instead of rushing to end the situation, how about throwing her a bottle of water and a comfortable chair, then backing off a few feet. Giver her a $50 gift-card- let her know she can use it for anything she likes (food, movie, etc.) In other words, give her some HOPE. They could put some funny images on the bottle or short quotes of inspiration and again hope. Throw out a joke and tell her a story to take her into another state of mind. I know sometimes that is wishful thinking. If someone is severely on drugs or in an altered state, it likely won't work, but in many, many cases, it will work. I think it would have worked well in this case. She was mostly coherent and having a dialog with the police.

    I once saw a video from overseas where a very unbalanced, agitated person with a knife aggressively approached a huge armed security guard (rambling, threatening, etc.) It was David and Goliath yet the confident, well trained large guard secured the knife, then literally gave the person an immediate hug. The other guy cried, hugged him back and the situation was diffused. We need more of that. I know this won't work all the time and officers should not place themselves at unnecessary risk, but the spirit of a smarter, kinder, more gentle approach (while maintaining mutual safety) has value. Let people know you care and can be trusted- build some simple rapport. Then they will be more likely to listen to you. I'm not sure why departments don't watch 100's of such successful encounters and incorporate lessons. It is not hard to do. Too often situations are escalated quickly with tragic results. At 5:30 she is literally telling them her intentions. These words fall on deaf ears as the forceful approach has already been decided. IMO, there was no good reason to deploy the taser when she was not attacking. In fact, she was defensively backpedaling as if to protect herself from them closing in on her. It was tragic all the way around. I hope valuable lessons can be learned from this and improvements made in the future.

  2. Taser only works after two shoots in the head. What a nice tool.
    Let's call it TEASER…because, after being tased the person seems to be excited and run their ass off after you.

  3. The mother would have stayed out of the way if someone would have handed her some scratch-off lottery tickets. 😅

  4. Why did they shoot her? She didn't look capable of hurting anyone very bad but they shot her. Just grab her, she couldn't get a swing that would be powerful enough to hurt anyone. They shouldn't even had a gun in their hand, unless you are disabled and can't move, she was no real danger to you.

  5. That crazy old lady must've contributed to her daughter's madness. Fucker's turned the police into lairs!

  6. I’m starting to think that Cops should carry a net like spider man. Surely if Elon can land his rocket, we can develop a gun that fires a sticky net. Or develop a spider robot that will somehow cocoon her up.

  7. Seriously Tammy slaton jr and her Scooty pooty ESCALATED THIS WHOLE THING. She prolly wanted them to kill her daughter so she could move out her double wide and afford the new SCOOTER3000

  8. We need to bring back asylums in this country.

    Many of these people aren’t necessarily evil people, they just have severe psychiatric problems and they should be secluded from the rest of society in a safe, clean, place staffed by medical professionals.

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