A woman allegedly shot by police during an arrest for a suspected carjacking was armed, the Kansas City Star reported Tuesday.
The woman, identified as 26-year-old Leonna Hale, was holding a handgun when officers found her and attempted to arrest her, the Kansas City Star reported. Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) Sgt. Andy Bell confirmed that Hale was armed in an email to the Kansas City Star, according to the outlet.
“Yes, [Hale] was armed with a handgun, holding the gun in her hand,” Bell told the outlet in his email. A gun was also recovered from the scene of the shooting, Bell said, according to the outlet.
The alleged incident involving Hale occurred Friday night inside a parking lot near the Family Dollar store at 6th and Prospect Ave, the Kansas City Star previously reported. Kansas City Police officers attempted to arrest Hale and an unknown male after locating a vehicle, which matched the description of a stolen vehicle at the Family Dollar Store, also according to the outlet.
The alleged carjacking took place in Kansas City, Kansas after the police department received a call through their dispatch center regarding an armed disturbance, Nancy Chartrand, public information officer and media relations specialist for the chief’s office told the Daily Caller via phone. The victim said their vehicle was allegedly taken at gunpoint and “officers responded out,” Chartrand indicated.
After the vehicle was allegedly stolen, the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department put out information on the vehicle and license plate readers in Kansas City, Missouri alerted officers that the vehicle was in their area, Chartrand said. A detective who had been at the scene of the alleged carjacking then headed over to Kansas City, Missouri when officers learned the vehicle had been located and the detective recognized it as the same one that had been described to him in the carjacking incident.
Officers instructed Hale and the unidentified male to exit the vehicle when they arrived on scene, which prompted a pursuit after the male allegedly ran, the Kansas City Star reported. The woman exited the vehicle with her hands up but told officers she couldn’t get on the ground when they asked her to because she was pregnant, an eyewitness identified as only Shédanja said, according to the outlet. (RELATED: Video Shows Police Officer Breaking Down In Tears After Killing Woman Who Allegedly Shot At Him)
Shédanja claimed that Hale was unarmed at the time of the shooting and that officers closed in on Hale with their weapons drawn, according to the Kansas City Star. Shédanja also said the police allegedly shot Hale five times when she ran three steps away from them, the outlet reported. Shédanja was traveling out of state when she visited the Family Dollar store, FOX 4 KC reported.
Shédanja reacted to the incident, telling FOX 4 KC she was “shaken.”
“I’m shaken I’m shaken that’s all I could do this happened right there it can’t change; my whole life is changed forever, I can’t unsee it,” she told the outlet.
Following the shooting, Hale was taken to the hospital, where she is in stable condition, according to the outlet. An investigation into the shooting is being conducted by the MSHP, Bell told the Daily Caller via phone.
Bell shared that the status of the investigation is ongoing and that the MSHP has seen a trend over the last two years in requests for assistance from outside agencies as it relates to officer-involved shootings. Bell said once the MSHP determines the circumstances regarding the investigation, writes a report, and submits it to the Jackson county prosecuting attorney’s office, then they’ll take over and “make a determination on how to proceed.”
He also said that MSHP is reviewing footage from multiple body cameras and conducting officer interviews to piece together what happened.
“We have to get it right,” Bell explained, adding that the MSHP intends to be both methodical and meticulous through the investigation because “too many things are at stake.”
In addition, Bell said they couldn’t confirm whether or not Hale was actually pregnant because that was “HIPAA-protected information,” which the local hospital wouldn’t release to them.
Chartrand said she believes any potential charges are pending as the detective who was made aware of the alleged carjacking is still speaking with the victim.
Jean Peters Baker, the Jackson county prosecutor announced Wednesday that Hale was facing charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon, and resisting a lawful detention, which is a misdemeanor, via a press release.