Spokane County Jail officials said that the corrections officer who fatally shot a 70-year-old woman at the facility on Friday night acted in self-defense because she was brandishing a knife.
Correction sergeant Justin White repeatedly told Nancy King to drop the knife but she seemed to charge at him and “moved aggressively” toward the officer.
White has since been placed on leave as the investigation proceeds, Jail Director Mike Sparber said.
The victim’s nephew recognized that his homeless aunt was dealing with mental issues and alcohol addiction.
“Sure, a homeless person can seem scary, but it’s hard to picture someone that small and elderly being a threat to a corrections officer,” the relative said.
“It was a cold night. I don’t know if she was having a mental breakdown or if she was just freezing to death and looking for someplace warm to go.”