Update: Deputies Involved In Costco Shooting Not Rookies - Leesburg Today Online—Daily News Coverage of Loudoun County, Leesburg, Ashburn: News

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Update: Deputies Involved In Costco Shooting Not Rookies

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Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 3:45 pm | Updated: 1:50 pm, Fri May 31, 2013.

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.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • LC Citizen posted at 12:13 pm on Mon, Jun 17, 2013.

    LC Citizen Posts: 2

    Has there been any new statement, information, video or similar been released by the Sheriff's Department meanwhile? If so, let me know. They silenced the woman but there is also big SILENCE from the media, town officials, politicians. I think we all should call the Sheriff's office and ask how the detailed and unbiased investigation is going.

  • LoCo Wonders posted at 7:05 pm on Sun, Jun 2, 2013.

    LoCo Wonders Posts: 95

    Today's headline from Florida:
    Scooter the Llama Escapes; Cops Subdue Him With Taser

    Police cornered the furry fugitive Saturday morning. After putting a lasso around its neck, it took six deputies to place the roughly 300-pound Scooter into a trailer. Drzewiecki said they used a taser gun to subdue the animal because llamas don't respond to voice commands.

    If Scooter got loose in LoCo, the LCSO would have shot him. Cops in Florida know how to subdue a 300 lb 6 foot llama.

    Sheriff Chapman: Where is the videotape??? LoCo awaits.

  • jibberjabber posted at 10:49 pm on Sat, Jun 1, 2013.

    jibberjabber Posts: 1

    I'm all for insuring that officers get home safely at the end of each day, but this kind of thing is becoming all too common. This officer shoots a woman with some sort of cutting implement ( probably what she was using to cut pizza with ) to death. The investigation has only begun and the sheriff is already saying that he's sure that the shooting will turn out to be justified. Biased much? Is he involved in the investigation? If so, then it's no investigation. There is no oversight or national criteria regarding incidents of police misuse of force. We all know the old saying- "Power corrupts". When that power uses deadly force and there's no real objective review and push to make their actions safer, do you think that they will be more or less corrupt? Who did the harm here? The officer killed the woman. The officer's bullet hit the other officer. What if that stray bullet had hit a bystander? Maybe they had to shoot this woman, and maybe nothing criminal took place, but what is the professional response? Will this Sheriff and his office review their policies regarding use of deadly force with the public? He they bring in experts who are trained in learning how to deescalate people? Is the standard response, when dealing with people with mental health issues, to kill them? Look at the case of the Kelly Thomas in Fullerton, CA. For him, being mentally ill in the presence of violent police, was a death sentence ( they were rightfully convicted of murder ). What about the case in Culpeper. An unarmed woman, who simply failed to comply because she was non-responsive ( probably from a mental condition ) was criminally killed by an out of control police officer ( who is now in jail ). Yes, the police should protect themselves, but we should demand that they improve their service. Maybe they had no other choice here, but the next time they can't taser, because their tools were not properly serviced, they should be held accountable ( in Culpeper, the officer had no working Lights or dashcam ).

  • thinkbeforeyourspeak posted at 1:51 pm on Fri, May 31, 2013.

    thinkbeforeyourspeak Posts: 3

    While I agree 4-5 shots seems unreasonable, its just what people are reporting that they heard. With all the commotion, it may or may not have been that many. The news reports one of the bullets ricocheted - depending on what it ricocheted off, it could have sounded like two, maybe even 3, separate shots....

    Those of you asking "why didn't the second officer use his taser?" The answer is simple - not every officer is certified to carry a taser. Usually when taser do not work, its either the prongs did not deploy, or that the shock did not stop the individual.

    Officers are also regularly trained to diffuse situations verbally. At the same time, this particular situation may not have been one where officers could spend hours upon hours trying to talk to this women. Whether she had a mental breakdown, was truly psychotic, or was just being stupid and not listening to the officers doesn't really matter. At the end of the day, officers have one goal - get home alive, and uninjured, by following and relying on their strict training.

  • hubba bubba posted at 1:36 pm on Fri, May 31, 2013.

    hubba bubba Posts: 408

    Before we go off on the cops, let's hear the 911 call that brought those officers to the store. Was the situation blown out of proportion before the cops even got there? Was she threatening other people? If Costco called it in why didn't they start to evacuate the store (or at least the immediate area)....why did the cops have to ask where the deli was instead of having an employee meet them at the door and escort them to the area? I think Costco has alot of explaining to do as well....perhaps alot of training of their staff to do. As a shopper, if someone is acting out and you have to call the cops I expect the store to have some protocol for ensuring the safety of their shoppers, not just calling the cops.

    Now it will be very interesting to see how the media covers the story when all the information is in.

  • NoLeftTurnsInDowntown posted at 8:16 am on Fri, May 31, 2013.

    NoLeftTurnsInDowntown Posts: 126

    A long time ago a very agitated/intoxicated stranger pulled a knife on me when I refused to give him money. What the knucklehead failed to realize was that when he pulled the knife I was standing by a pile of bricks from a construction site. After throwing two of these bricks football style into his upper body, he decided to give up on attacking me.

    You would think that if the tazer didn't work one of the deputies could have beaned her with a family pack of Flintstones Vitamins or a Costco size brick of Velveeta to neutralize her. 4-5 gunshots seems excessive.

  • aussymom posted at 7:29 pm on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    aussymom Posts: 61

    Several years ago a close relative, and I'm being vague to protect her, was in a similar situation in front of a federal property. She was carrying sizzors and razor blades and was more of a threat to herself than anyone else, she had a psychotic breakdown and the federal police talked her down after a pretty long period of time. She was transported to a hospital and held/medicated for two weeks. I was the point of contact because I was the closest in proximity to the incident. Those federal police contacted me daily to ask various questions about her well being while I'm sure extracting information to benefit their investigation. I am forever greatfull that they remained so companionate and took their time to talk her down, it could have taken a very bad turn.

    We don't know if Ms. Scott was having a breakdown but there needs to be training for these situations at every level of law enforcement.

  • Tasers4Batteries posted at 2:50 pm on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    Tasers4Batteries Posts: 1

    What's really bothering me about this story is the whole Taser portion. Both Leesburg Today and Washington Post are reporting this WRONG! The woman was never tasered. If you click the link in the LT article above to the Sheriffs Youtube video you'll hear the sheriff sat twice, the Taser didn't work. The second time it's rather difficult tohear everything but it sounded like he said it was deployed and did not work. This leads me to believe that the taser itself didn't work at all like they forgot to charge the batteries or something. If this is infact the case, this brings up an important question of why the second deputy didn't try tasing her? To fire 5 shots in a packed Costco at a woman who was armed with a pizza knife (5 inches I've heard? ) and "possibly scissors", who was obviously mentally sick at the time in what may have been a cry for help, and until then had NOT ATTACKED, OR CUT ANYONE in the store (she was not running around the store chasing people with knives) , and not attempt to talk to this woman (several reports stating someone was having a conversation with woman in an attempt to get her to put down the knife immediately before deputies arrived) other then a SINGLE command to drop the knife, then fatally killing this 38 year old mother in front of terrified bystanders is negligent at least, perhaps something more. They did not have to kill this woman. I would never in my life admit to the fact that I couldn't disarm a 38 year old woman ---as a man--- with my buddy beside me --- without shooting her at least three times and at least once in the head. Chapman had better not try and sweep this under the rug and pretend nothing happened.

  • NoLeftTurnsInDowntown posted at 2:25 pm on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    NoLeftTurnsInDowntown Posts: 126

    average_joe: My comment, though it sounded simpleminded if not sarcastic is still valid. My point was not to question the actions of the deputies, but rather ask a larger question about use of deadly force. My motivation was more from the comments that seem to be polarized between - the use of deadly force in this case was unnecessary and the crowd that thinks law enforcement officers can do no wrong. A few of the commenters here feel the way I do - based on the details we have heard so far, it seems there could have been a better way to subdue this person who was purported to be agitated and in some sort of distress. Many of us - regardless of what you read into past comments or insinuations about political leanings - also have backgrounds in military and law enforcement service. In other words - have had experience in training with regard to deadly force.

    c'mon! A woman with a pair of scissors or a knife acting strange and I've got two of us? Unless she is doing something out of a horror movie like spinning her head or walking on the ceiling - my inclination, from this perspective, is do anything but use deadly force. Only as a last resort - but 4 - 5 shots? She must have been a brute!!!

  • average_joe posted at 1:20 pm on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    average_joe Posts: 18

    NoLeftTurnsInDowntown, There is a huge difference between standing in a corner with a knife not threatning anyone and approching an armed deputy. Hence they attempted the peaceful yet painful tazer. If I yell at you to drop the knife, I try to taze you and you do not drop the knife, and then you proceed to come at me with a knife, perhaps you should have gone with option number 1 or 2. Nowhere have I read that the deputy got out of his car, went directly to the woman and shot her without saying a word. Would you have been happier if the headlines would have read "Cosco Employee Stabs Deputy"? Somewhere people have to take responsibility for their actions and we have to stop trying to blame someone else for our own shortcomings.

  • NoLeftTurnsInDowntown posted at 12:23 pm on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    NoLeftTurnsInDowntown Posts: 126

    So if someone has a knife or scissors and fail to listen to me when I demand they drop the weapon - can I kill them?

  • mas954 posted at 12:22 pm on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    mas954 Posts: 352

    Don't bring a knife to a gunfight.

  • ILoveVa posted at 11:17 am on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    ILoveVa Posts: 1

    Those commenting weren't there and only know the vague details that the media knows.

    Ask any officer and you'll be hard pressed to find one that takes drawing, let alone firing, their side arm lightly.

    It's unfortunate that a woman is dead but having lived in Nova my entire life and in Loudoun County for the past 20 years, I trust our deputies and their abilities implicitly.

  • LoudounResident10 posted at 10:51 am on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    LoudounResident10 Posts: 3


    Show some class and stop trying to politicize this tragedy, a woman is dead. And here's a newsflash, even if the democrats had control of the Loudoun BOS she would STILL be dead.

    Peddle your left-wing hate someplace else.

  • average_joe posted at 10:26 am on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    average_joe Posts: 18

    My way of looking at this, the deputy spoke to her, he attempted to taze, both non-lethal. She continued to advance. Until you are in that duputy's shoes, be slow to judge. It sounds to me that the steps for defusing the situation were followed. We as a society have to be careful at how much we tie the deputies hands. Do we get to where the deputy is not allowed to use force period? Who would sign up for that job where you can not defend yourself? I work with a lot of deputies in my duty in fire and rescue. I do not know anyone that wakes up in the morning looking to shoot someone. Most would prefer to go thier entire career and never have to unholster their weapon. The deputy is "what if'ing" this over and over. As a Marine, I can say, the use of deadly force is never taken lightly.

    Regardless how bad a day I am having, if a deputy tells me to put the knofe down, I think the rational thing to do is put the knife down. Once this takes place it is a lot safer for the deputies to move in and dake the suspect down. As lond as the suspect is still armed, I am not expecting anyone to put themselves in danger. It's that whole self preservation thing we are born with.

  • Sundance posted at 10:14 am on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    Sundance Posts: 118

    Amazing. All of these accusations, all of these conspiracy theories, all of the hatred and cruelty expressed in this thread...and not one of you has the slightest idea what you're talking about. No facts at all.


  • thinkbeforeyourspeak posted at 8:59 am on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    thinkbeforeyourspeak Posts: 3

    All of you saying the Police acted inappropriately, you need to think about the whole picture and/or do some research on law enforcement. A call for disorderly conduct, women with a knife who refuses to put in down after multiple commands to do so, taser failed for whatever reason (not all officers are certified to carry a taser), next step is lethal force. The officers aren't going to use a nightstick because they aren't going to put themselves that close and risk getting cut. People do not need to be injured for an officer to use lethal force. The THREAT of danger so oneself or others is enough to validate lethal force - as long as the use of force continuum is followed (which it appears to have been based of what the article says).

    I'm not saying every piece of info in this article is 100% accurate though, but using a little common sense, there is nothing outright saying either officer was unprofessional in their actions. The second officer being stuck by possible friendly fire is an unfortunate event. However, the first officer didn't shoot knowing the ricochet was going to hit his partner. Ricochets are always unpredictable.

    Y'all need to stop and think things through before saying stupid stuff and expressing your close mindedness - even if you disagree with what the article is reporting.

  • NO-BS posted at 2:50 am on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    NO-BS Posts: 2

    So many people are just "losing it". It's starting to creep me out. Praise & prayers go out to our brave and stupid Costco customers.

  • NO-BS posted at 2:48 am on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    NO-BS Posts: 2


  • Shayla posted at 2:34 am on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    Shayla Posts: 1

    Not the first time this has happened at a Costco, look up Erik Scott's tragedy while shopping at Costco. He was shot by police also. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DJeXzQmkVc

  • Frank Grimes VA posted at 12:05 am on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    Frank Grimes VA Posts: 14

    I also think it says something about the gun culture when the past two people to be gunned down in Loudoun were by a cop and an off-duty fireman. Both situations, more time and a desire for more non-lethal action may have saved 2 lives.

  • Frank Grimes VA posted at 12:03 am on Thu, May 30, 2013.

    Frank Grimes VA Posts: 14

    To the Marine (myownsense) poster, who believes these are all opinions on all of us thinking its ridiculous to shoot a 38 year old woman with a knife, shoot first ask questions later may work in war, but in Loudoun County Virginia when a woman has cut no one, attacked no one, gets shot because 2 armed and bullet proofed cops cant take her down when shes waving a knife.... yes this is a time to ask questions and form opinions.

    We cant raise our soldiers and cops to dietys where they do no wrong. This may have been a huge mistake by the cops part. A woman is dead and another cop is injured. These men put their lives at risk, but surely their lives were not at risk at Costco today.

    It benefits the county and our future safety to ask questions and find out what happened.

  • LoCo Wonders posted at 10:36 pm on Wed, May 29, 2013.

    LoCo Wonders Posts: 95

    No one except Chapman will ever see the surveillance video from Costco

  • leesburgboy posted at 10:24 pm on Wed, May 29, 2013.

    leesburgboy Posts: 102

    the same people on Loudoun based online newspapers are here and leesburg2day complaining about everything from the LCSO, our BOS, republican corruption, Christianity and related issues with displays in leesburg, forced unity and equal rights of the homosexuals, hating gun owners, our disgraceful government, a shirt delgaudio is wearing and his ideology, comparing this shooting to a black youth who was unfortunately in someone else's house who was unfortunately killed, etc. ironically, they are all left wing lunatics who have nothing positive in their lives and would rather ignorantly pass judgment on a police officer who needed to make a decision with unfortunate deadly consequences. cheer up as there has to be something positive in your lives. I doubt it, but at some point, maybe when Hillary is elected, the federal, state and local governments will all be liberal to your liking and your justice can be served. as always, pleasant dreams.

  • myownsense posted at 9:44 pm on Wed, May 29, 2013.

    myownsense Posts: 89

    As I remember being told in the Marine Corps many years ago: "Opinions are like a$$holes..." I note an abundance of both weighing-in based solely on early news reports - as accurate as those often turn out to be.[rolleyes]

  • JonathanWeintraub posted at 9:11 pm on Wed, May 29, 2013.

    JonathanWeintraub Posts: 275

    The Washington Post report has more detail.

    Let's think about this. The woman is acting "strangely." She has a knife, but from the time the police are called, until the police arrive, she hasn't harmed anybody. The police arrive, shoot her, kill her, and injure one of their own, and the police acted "appropriately." The excuse making sounds strangely familiar to the Caleb A. Gordley shooting.

    There is a name for this, Blood Lust. http://www.loudounprogress.org/?p=4698

  • Frank Grimes VA posted at 8:28 pm on Wed, May 29, 2013.

    Frank Grimes VA Posts: 14

    This is what happens when the Board of Supervisors care more about Lyme Disease and Baseball stadiums than they do about proper training for cops and funding for our schools.

    This county government is a disgrace. Take off the stupid hat Eugene.

  • Frank Grimes VA posted at 8:26 pm on Wed, May 29, 2013.

    Frank Grimes VA Posts: 14

    So a 38 year old woman cannot be subdued by 2 cops, so they shoot her multiple times. No injuries other than the cop hurt by the other cop?

    This seems to be an extreme use of force. A billy club to the knee? Another try of the taser?
    I respect Cops for what they do, but I cant see how a woman with a knife and scissors who has apparently not cut anyone, deserves to be shot multiple times.

    We should be all scared that we dont have a bad day and end up getting shot by those who are paid to protect us

  • Leesburg NW posted at 8:16 pm on Wed, May 29, 2013.

    Leesburg NW Posts: 72

    Why is Delgaudio standing behind Sheriff Chapman in the video with his stupid orange hat? Does he always have to get in on TV stories? Does this guy have any shame ?

  • sbalonso posted at 6:59 pm on Wed, May 29, 2013.

    sbalonso Posts: 9

    Always a sad incident. Tasers sometimes fail against thick clothing where the probes do not penetrate to the skin. Whether this was by a person wanting to die, or if drugs or alcohol was involved, it is a life lost nonetheless. The suspect and the deputies were in very close proximity so friendly fire is sometimes the result. We applaude our LCSD deputies for their work.

  • Runner posted at 6:02 pm on Wed, May 29, 2013.

    Runner Posts: 28

    So many people are just "losing it". It's starting to creep me out. Praise & prayers go out to our brave Troopers, deputies & local police officers.

  • That Guy posted at 4:56 pm on Wed, May 29, 2013.

    That Guy Posts: 45

    Sounds like the deputy got hit by 'friendly fire.