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Police: Officers beanbag an armed, suicidal woman

Sean Philip Cotter
505-5437/@SPCotterYD

Police stopped a woman who was pointing a gun at herself in a Springettsbury Township barn on Monday afternoon by shooting her with beanbags, according to a news release.

Springettsbury Township Police were dispatched just after 1 p.m. to reports of a woman in a car who was threatening to kill herself with a gun, according to the release from Springettsbury police Chief Dan Stump.

About 50 minutes later, officers found the woman's car parked in the 3400 block of Druck Valley Road, but she wasn't in it, the release states. So Springettsbury Township Police, as well as a York County Sheriff's K-9 unit, county park rangers and the police departments of Hellam and Lower Windsor townships, launched into an "exhaustive" search for the woman.

At 3:08 p.m., officers found her in a barn in the 3500 block of North Sherman Street in Springettsbury Township, near Central York High School, according to police. Police say she was pointing a .45-caliber handgun to her chest.

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"(She) made it clear she wanted to die," the release states.

Officers tried to negotiate with her to get her to put down the gun, but she refused, moving toward the opening of the barn with the weapon still pointed to her chest, according to police.

That's when they shot her with a beanbag shotgun, the release states. At least two of the beanbags hit her, causing her to fall to the ground and drop the gun, police say.

Officers took her into custody at 3:22 p.m. She was taken to the hospital for medial treatment, with the plan to involuntarily commit her for a mental-health evaluation, the release states. In Pennsylvania, people can be temporarily involuntarily committed in what's called a 302 commitment if authorities deem them a threat to themselves or others.

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Police continue to investigate the incident, which might result in criminal charges, according to the release.

— Sean Cotter covers York City for The York Dispatch. Contact him atscotter@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD.