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Video shows officer fatally shooting ax-wielding woman

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AP

Authorities in Tennessee have released video of a shooting in which a white police officer kills a black woman who was approaching him while wielding a medieval-style ax.

The video, released Thursday, shows Gallatin Officer James Spray telling 40-year-old Laronda Sweatt, who was holding the ax, to stop approaching him multiple times before fatally shooting her.

The footage was captured from a camera on Spray’s vest as well as from another officer.

Authorities say Sweatt had become combative when Sumner County sheriff’s deputy Gary Pickard accompanied housing authorities to serve an eviction notice on her Wednesday.

Gallatin police said in a news release it sent several officers when Pickard requested help. Sweatt then threatened Gallatin Officer James Spray with the ax and Spray shot her. Officers immediately began medical treatment on Sweatt, who later was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Sweatt's mother wants answers.

Ella Sweatt said in a telephone interview Thursday that her daughter was bipolar and the housing authority knew about her condition. She said authorities didn't give advance notice that they were coming to see Laronda Sweatt, who had wanted to work out a payment agreement for her rent.

"She wasn't a bad person," Ella Sweatt said. "She didn't weigh but 94 pounds."

The police report said Laronda Sweatt was shot twice.

"I want to know why he did her like that," Ella Sweatt said. "He didn't have to."

Sweatt’s daughter Alainna Sweatt says the 40-second police video has been edited and doesn’t tell the full story.

Spray is on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

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