Police shot a woman armed with a hatchet inside of a western Wisconsin Walmart store Friday afternoon.
Melissa Abbott, 25, from Black River Falls passed away from her injuries in an Eau Claire hospital Friday night just before midnight. She had been shot in the midsection and thigh.
The Walmart Supercenter in Lake Hallie, between Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, called police at 5:12 p.m. when Abbott allegedly went to the sporting goods department and armed herself, and then began to strike various items in the store with the hatchet, including several pillows.
A Lake Hallie policeman confronted Abbott, and gave several verbal commands to drop the weapon, but she did not comply. Witnesses inside the store say the woman was shot twice by the officer, just before a second officer arrived to assist.
Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk told local news media the woman lunged at the officer, so he fired two shots, sending her to the ground.
Abbott was taken to an area hospital with life threatening injuries. Sheriff Kowalczyk says the suspect has cognitive disabilities, and is a resident at the Northern Wisconsin Center, which is a state-operated care facility for persons with intellectual disabilities in nearby Chippewa Falls.
By policy, the police officer that shot her has been placed on administrative leave. Several customers have been giving witness statements, and the store’s surveillance camera video is being used to review what happened.
The Home & Garden section of the store remained closed Friday night during the initial investigation.
Contributed by Larry Lee and Zach Hagenbucher, WSAU