Sterling, VA — A woman handing out pizza samples at Costco was killed by police after she started acting erratically and charged officers with scissors and a knife.
The incident happened at a Costco in Loudoun County around 3 pm when store employees noticed the woman, 38-year-old Mhai Scott, acting strangely.
Witnesses recalled how Scott seemed upset about the pizza samples she was handing out. She was reportedly waving a knife and scissors and threatening employees.
Scott apparently became agitated and began saying “crazy things.” Witnesses added that she seemed concerned about the number of servings in a pizza box.
Two deputies were called to the scene to check on a report of a disorderly person. When they arrived, the woman came at the officers with weapons. One officer attempted to stop Scott with a stun gun, but it “did not work.”
After the stun gun failed and Scott ignored orders to drop her knife, one of the deputies fatally shot her. The deputy was the only one to fire shots. After the woman was killed, the Costco store was evacuated. One shopper, Elizabeth Avelar, recalled:
“I had no idea whether somebody was being shot, if there was a bomb threat. It was very difficult to get out of the parking lot — people were honking their horns. It was frightening.”
A second deputy was injured during the shooting, possibly from a ricocheting bullet. He is expected to recover. Mhai Scott worked for Club Demonstration Services, a subcontractor that provides services to Costco, including sample-givers. Loudoun Sheriff Michael Chapman added that investigators are still reviewing surveillance tapes, but that he felt “confident in the way our deputies responded.”
The sheriff added, “It’s a tragic situation. I feel for everybody involved.” Several witnesses at the front of the store were alerted to the incident when the deputies came in. One witness recalled that the deputies “were coming in for action.” Another added of the incident, “It was really horrible. You don’t feel safe, and this is our backyard. Costco is our backyard. You go there all the time.”
[Image via Coolcaesa]