Police fatally shot a woman who confronted officers with a handgun in South Berwick on Thursday afternoon, said the police chiefs of South Berwick and York.

York police were called just before noon by a medical facility, which reported that a woman was on the phone, threatening suicide and saying she had a gun, said York Police Chief Doug Bracy and South Berwick Police Chief Dana Lajoie at a news conference Thursday evening.

Police went to 130 Ogunquit Road in York, setting up outside the house and determining that no one else was inside. The chiefs said the woman got into her white Nissan Pathfinder just before 1 p.m. and drove away from the home.

Fearing that she posed a danger to the public or might initiate a high-speed chase, police used a spike mat to deflated her tires as she drove on Ogunquit Road, crossing into South Berwick. She stopped about a quarter-mile later.

Bracy and Lajoie said a South Berwick police officer pulled up behind the woman in a cruiser, the woman got out of the SUV, pointed a gun at the officer and walked toward the officer.

At the same time, a York police officer pulled up in a cruiser and got out. Both officers fired at the woman, the chiefs said. She was taken to Portsmouth Regional Hospital in New Hampshire, where she was pronounced dead.

The chiefs did not identify the woman, pending notification of her family, saying only that she was 55 years old.

Asked whether the woman fired her weapon, the chiefs said the state Attorney General’s Office will release such details. No officers were injured.

The chiefs did not identify the officers involved. Bracy said the York officer was put on administrative leave with pay, according to the department’s policy. Lajoie said the South Berwick officer was not put on leave.

The chiefs said it was the first officer-involved shooting for either police department in more than 30 years.

The Attorney General’s Office is investigating the shooting, as it does after all uses of deadly force by police officers. State police detectives who were at the scene Thursday will work with the Attorney General’s Office.

Ogunquit Road was still closed at 6:30 p.m., and was expected to remain closed for a couple more hours.


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