The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office Thursday is continuing its investigation into yesterday's fatal shooting at the Cascades Plaza Costco store and is asking for witnesses who have not been interviewed by a detective to call.
Witnesses are asked to contact the sheriff's office at 703-777-0475.
The woman killed at the Sterling Costco Wednesday afternoon has been identified as a 38-year-old Sterling woman. The name of the deputy injured in the shooting has not been released.
Mhai Scott was shot and killed by a Loudoun County Sheriff's Office deputy after she advanced on law enforcement with a knife at the Costco located at 21398 Price Cascades Plaza in Sterling, according to the sheriff's office.
Sheriff's office spokeswoman Liz Mills said two deputies responded to the store for a disorderly conduct incident after receiving report that a Customer Demonstration Services provider started acting strangely. On the scene, the deputies gave Scott multiple commands to drop the weapon, but she did not respond, Mills said. At that point, one of the deputies used a stun gun on Scott in an attempt to subdue her. During a briefing on the scene this afternoon, Sheriff Mike Chapman said the taser "did not work."
View Sheriff Chapman's briefing here.
After the taser failed, a deputy, who has not been identified, fired his weapon multiple times, killing her. "She continued to advance on the deputies with a weapon, and that’s when lethal force was used," Mills said this evening.
It is estimated there were a couple hundred people shopping in Costco at the time of the incident, according to the sheriff's office.
All Costco employees and customers are safe, a Costco employee on the scene said. The CDS service providers are private contractors, not Costco employees.
Only one deputy fired his weapon, both Chapman and Mills confirmed, but the second responding deputy was injured in the incident. A gunshot, possibly a ricochet, hit the deputy in the leg. He has since been treated and released from the hospital.
The deputy who killed Scott has been placed on administrative leave for the duration of the investigation as is standard procedure. Neither deputy is being identified at this time.
While details on their service with the sheriff's office are not being shared, Mills did confirm that neither deputy was a rookie with the department and both had "several years on the job." Both also have certification and training records that are up to date according to the standards of the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, Mills said. Both deputies also went through the lengthy training required of Loudoun deputies, which includes at least a year before they are put on patrol.
Chapman said Wednesday afternoon he was confident the deputy who fired his weapon acted appropriately. The investigation is underway, including review of the in-store surveillance footage.
"These types of situations are extremely rare and are extremely stressful and require immediate action," Mills said.
The Virginia Criminal Justice Services training does specifically address the use of force, including deadly force in various situations, including training on the factors affecting and considerations for the use of deadly force, according to its manual.
A witness interviewed at the scene said at 3:05 p.m., he was at the photo department counter when he saw deputies enter the store and ask the greeter for the location of the deli area. The witness then heard several shots fired—he said it sounded like a pallet falling on the ground—before fleeing the building with the other customers.
Robert Krause, an optometrist who works in the building, said he heard five gunshots. Customers in the store initially didn't know the sounds were gunshots, Krause said, and the noises sounded like something popping.
Chapman would not confirm how many shots were fired.
Krause also said he saw the injured deputy being taken out of the store on a stretcher, and he was on his cellphone.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.