UPDATED at noon Thursday with additional details about officers involved.
ST. LOUIS • A woman was shot and killed after pointing a gun at police officers about midday Wednesday in the Holly Hills neighborhood, police say.
No officers were hurt in the incident in the 3600 block of Wilmington Avenue, west of Grand Boulevard and a few blocks north of Carondelet Park.
The woman was later identified as Robin White, 50. Police said she lived in the block where the incident took place.
It may have begun with a family dispute, according to Acting Chief Lawrence O’Toole, who spoke to reporters at the scene Wednesday afternoon. But he emphasized that it was early in the investigation.
Police got multiple calls about a woman firing shots in the air outside her home about 11:40 a.m., according to O’Toole. When police arrived, they heard shots, then encountered the armed woman on the front porch of a home, O’Toole said. She was "firing shots indiscriminately," according to a police summary of the shooting.
The officers ordered the woman to drop the weapon, but instead she pointed it at them, O'Toole said. One officer opened fire, striking the woman, O’Toole said.
“In defense of their lives and others, (the officer) fired and struck the lady,” O’Toole said. “(The officer) fired in self-defense.”
White was pronounced dead at the scene, O’Toole said. It was unclear how many shots were fired and how many times she was hit. It does not appear she fired at police.
The officer who fired the shots is a 49-year-old man with 19 years of service, the department said. He was placed on administrative duty, as per policy after officer-involved shootings. The other officer on the scene is a 40-year-old man with 14 years of service.
Police recovered the weapon White had and said they found at least 10 spent casings from her gun. Officers found two cars nearby damaged by shots she had fired, O’Toole said.
White lived in a four-family home on the block, according to her landlord, who didn’t want to be named. The landlord said a cursory background check on her was clear, and there had been no problems with her as a tenant.
A man who lives several houses down said he had heard gunfire earlier in the morning and had called police. The man, who didn’t want his name used because he feared for his safety, said he heard a male voice telling someone to put down a gun. A woman answered, “I’m going to shoot everybody.” He didn’t see the people and fled into his home.
When police arrived, he said, he heard a flurry of gunfire.
Hours later, a group of about a dozen people were gathered outside the home. A man who identified himself as a nephew of the woman killed but who declined to give his name said he and other relatives believe she suffered a mental breakdown. He said the woman was battling bone cancer and dealing with other personal issues.
Neighbors said the area was generally quiet. “Never had something like this happen here,” said one, who declined to be identified. “It’s a pretty freaky thing.”
Nassim Benchaabane, Christine Byers and David Carson of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.