DETROIT – Police have determined that a woman who was shot and killed by Detroit officers this weekend for pointing and waving a gun at gas station customers and employees was armed with an airsoft pistol, according to the chief.
The incident began at 5:57 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 19) at the Sunoco gas station at the intersection of Hayes Street and 7 Mile Road on Detroit’s east side, according to authorities.
Officials said they received several 911 calls about Nakita Williams, 33, of Detroit, waving a gun at customers and employees at the entrance of the gas station store. Four Detroit police officers responded to the scene.
Detroit police Chief James White provided a timeline of events during a Monday afternoon briefing.
“At 5:59, Ms. Williams is inside the store, and at this point she cuts in front of those three customers that you see there (picture below) and produces the gun,” White said. “At 6:06, Ms. Williams has the gun in her hand at the entrance of the store.”
White provided still images from surveillance cameras at the gas station. They appeared to show customers fleeing from the gas station entrance, both on foot and peeling off in a car.
“She continues to point the gun at this citizen, and he is fleeing toward his vehicle,” White said.
Officers said when they arrived at 6:09 p.m., Williams walked out of the gas station store and pointed her gun at a customer.
“Officers tell the customer not to enter, and what you see in this particular slide (picture below) is the customer that has his back to Ms. Williams was actually walking toward the store and the officer yells to the customer not to go in,” White said.
At this point, the officer in the picture had not removed his weapon, according to the chief.
“He’s having some type of conversation with her,” White said. “We’re still in the process of investigating that.”
Police eventually fired shots, striking Williams, White said. She died while police were taking her to a nearby hospital, authorities said.
“The investigation also has revealed that Ms. Williams was armed, at this point, with an airsoft weapon,” White said. “Once the officers engaged Ms. Williams and shots were fired by the officers, they kicked the gun away, conveyed her in the vehicle, and when they kicked the gun away, you see that the back of the weapon open up, and you see what appears to be a CO2 charge inside of the weapon, which is indicative of an airsoft pistol.
“Our preliminary investigation shows that the officers acted bravely. They had to make a split-second decision and they were confronted with a very, very volatile situation and a very tragic situation.”
Investigation revealed Williams might have suffered from mental illness, White said. That is among the factors still being investigated.
White said the actions of his officers appears to be within department policy. Findings will ultimately be sent to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, he said.
You can watch White’s full briefing below.