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Police probe officer-involved fatal shooting of reportedly suicidal woman

Detectives are continuing an investigation into the fatal police shooting of a reportedly suicidal woman who allegedly pulled a revolver on officers.

Joanna Lee Smith, 57, pulled the gun and pointed it at officers who had been trying to get her to come out of her Southwest Side home, said Sgt. Mark Robinson, a Tucson police spokesman.

Events leading to Smith’s shooting began at about 9:50 p.m. Saturday when police got a call from one of Smith’s family members.

Smith had text-messaged relatives to tell them “goodbye,” Robinson said, adding there were additional reasons Smith’s family thought she might be suicidal.

Robinson would not say what those were “out of respect for the family.”

When officers arrived at Smith’s house, in the 3000 block of South Lands End Road, near South Mission Road and West 36th Street, they heard loud music coming from the home.

Officers knocked on Smith’s door. She told them, “Just go away,” and would not open the door.

Officers then heard a shot from inside the home and tried knocking on Smith’s door again, tried calling her on a telephone and then tried calling to her on a patrol car loud speaker, Robinson said.

When none of those efforts worked, officers started breaking windows in the home to find Smith, Robinson said.

As officers broke a front window, Robinson said, Smith showed herself and pointed a .38-caliber revolver at police.

Officer Daniel Spencer, an eight-year Tucson Police Department veteran, fired at least one shot from his departmental issue .223-caliber rifle, Robinson said.

Smith was wounded and taken to a hospital where she died at 11:27 p.m. Saturday, Robinson said.

Smith was the home’s sole occupant when she was shot, Robinson said.

Spencer has been offered leave with pay for his well being, standard procedure in an officer- involved shooting, Robinson said. He did not know if Spencer opted to take leave.

Homicide detectives and internal affairs investigators have been assigned to investigate the shooting, also standard in such cases, and a board of inquiry will review the results of the investigation, Robinson said.

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