More details surface in Huntsville officer-involved shooting that claimed the life of Army vet – WAFF

More details surface in Huntsville officer-involved shooting that claimed the life of Army vet - WAFF
Woman told officers to shoot her during deadly encounter, Huntsville police say
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) – Huntsville police officials say the woman killed in an encounter with officers at her apartment complex told them to shoot her multiple times before drawing her weapon, forcing them to fire.

Crystal Ragland, 32, died in the incident at the Stadium Apartments off Ivy Avenue near Milton Frank Stadium Thursday morning.

When officers got on the scene, they spoke to the manager, who told them that the office had received several calls from scared residents about Ragland waving and pointing a gun at neighbors.

Questions remain in aftermath of deadly Huntsville officer-involved shooting

When officers arrived, there was in fact, an armed female with a gun….There was a brief confrontation and shots were fired, said Lt. Michael Johnson, public information officer for the Huntsville Police Department.

An incident report indicates Ragland was armed with a handgun. She was taken to the hospital and later passed away.

On Friday, Lt. Johnson released more details on the matter, stating that the actual firing of the officers weapons took less than three seconds.

“The firing did not occur until Ragland drew her gun on officers, and that came after a lengthy period of time of them asking her to drop her gun. She denied every having a gun, even though the officers could see it,” Lt. Johnson said. “During the verbal exchange, she told the officers to shoot her. She made that statement more than once before drawing the weapon.”

Police say two officers are now on administrative duty while the shooting is investigated. Right now, they said that investigation could take weeks to complete.

HPD has not yet released details on the number of shots fired, how many times Crystal Ragland was shot, what type of gun she had, or if it was/wasnt registered to her. No information has been released on her history.

Raglands family writes on a GoFund Me page that she suffered from mental illness, stemming from her military service.

Her illness was brought on while she was deployed overseas. Her family has fought constantly for their loved one to receive the appropriate care, relatives posted.

Police have not yet confirmed whether Raglands mental state was a factor in the deadly incident. Army public affairs representatives confirmed Ragland served.

Huntsville Police Department officials discussed on Friday how officers train to handle a crisis situation on the job.

Lt. Jon Ware was one of the Huntsville Police Departments first mental health officers. Now hes the coordinator for the Crisis Intervention Team, or CIT.

“Ive been a police officer for a long time. Over the years, weve seen the calls for mental health just go up and up and until recently, you just had to handle them in the best you knew how,” he explained.

With the CIT training officers have been getting, they are better equipped to assist people in a true crisis.

“From people having trouble with their children, from people having trouble with their elderly parents, trying to find resources for people with autism, anything that somebody is having a struggle with thats mental health related or substance abuse related, we can help them find the resources and point them in the right direction,” Lt. Ware said.

In February, officers participated in CIT training. HPD was one of only four law enforcement agencies in the country that received a grant to hold the course.

The department has 40 officers officers certified in crisis intervention working different shifts. They plan on increasing that number in the future.

All officers in the department are trained on how to de-escalate a situation and how to identify someone with mental illness.

Lt. Ware has seen firsthand how CIT training helps officers on the street be more prepared to help people when they need it the most.

If you have the opportunity and you have the resources that we do now, it absolutely works, he added.

An armed woman who was killed by Huntsville police on Thursday repeatedly told officers to shoot me before they fired multiple rounds at her, an official said today.

Crystal Danielle Ragland died at Huntsville Hospital after two officers fired several shots at her, a police department spokesman said. The shooting happened outside 32-year-old Raglands home at Stadium Apartments on Westheimer Drive in west Huntsville.

Lt. Michael Johnson in a phone call with AL.com on Friday afternoon released more information about the deadly shooting and events that preceded the gunfire. He said he watched police video of the shooting. AL.com is seeking copies of any videos through a public records request.

The lieutenant said two officers knocked on the front door of Raglands apartment shortly after 8:30 a.m. Less than a minute later, Ragland was on the ground suffering multiple gunshot wounds.

Police havent publicly identified the officers. AL.com is seeking their personnel files through a public records request.

Johnson said Ragland came out of her apartment through a side door, carrying a gun in her pants pocket. Police told Ragland not to touch her weapon, which she denied having, even though the officers could see it, Johnson said.

Ragland repeatedly shouted shoot me during a seconds-long confrontation with the officers, Johnson told AL.com.

The officers started shooting when Ragland grabbed her weapon and began tactically drawing it, Johnson said. Ragland never fired any shots.

A family member of Ragland declined an interview request from AL.com late Thursday. Attempts to reach the family on Friday werent immediately successful.

Police have declined to say how many shots officers fired during the encounter. Johnson said officers fired several rounds from two different weapons in less than three seconds.

Officers were at the apartments because multiple neighbors reported Ragland had been pointing her gun at them. In response to a public records request, the Huntsville City Attorneys office released to AL.com part of three police reports about Raglands actions. The reports, which are heavily redacted, list Ragland as a suspect accused of menacing people with a handgun at the apartments.

Deseree Montgomery, a woman who said she saw police shoot Ragland, told news reporters that she didnt see Ragland with a gun or notice one on the ground after the shooting.

Johnson said the gun fell to the ground between Raglands body and her apartment. He said witnesses wouldnt been able to see the gun from across the parking lot.

Both officers who shot at Ragland are on desk duty while the police department investigates. The investigative findings will be presented to a review board, where police captains will decide whether the officers followed policy.

Representatives from the Huntsville City Attorneys office, the police departments citizen advisory council and the Madison County District Attorneys office also attend review board hearings, though they dont have votes in whether to clear officers internally.


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