Report: Deputy shot woman 7 or 8 times

Report: Deputy shot woman 7 or 8 times

June 1st, 2011 by Beth Burger in News

Investigators search for clues in the median of I-75 Saturday where a Bradley County deputy sheriff stopped to check on a woman and two small children walking. The woman allegedly slashed the deputy with a knife, and he fired at her as she stole the patrol car. The woman drove a short distrance before plowing through a fence and coming to rest on a Cleveland street. Staff photo by Randall Higgins

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TV REPORT

To view the TV news interview with Foster's sister in Louisville, Ky., go to http://tinyurl.com/3cu58kw

A Bradley County Sheriff's Office deputy shot a woman at least seven times after she cut him with a knife and went for his patrol car on Interstate 75, according to a medical examiner's report.

Armetta Foster, 30, of Casselberry, Fla., was shot in front of her two children, ages 10 and 6, after Deputy Dustin Patrick stopped to check on them as they walked north along the side of the highway on May 22. The shooting occurred about 1:40 p.m.

Six of the bullets hit Foster in the left thigh and buttocks, tearing into her vagina and bladder, according to the report released Tuesday afternoon from the Regional Forensic Center for the Office of the Medical Examiner in Knoxville. A seventh hit her in the left kidney and left-hand side of the liver and an eighth hit her in the left forearm, the report said.

However, it's possible she was only shot seven times, the report said, because the bullet that entered her left forearm might have re-entered her body a second time on left side, hitting the kidney and liver, according to the report.

The report doesn't say whether the bullets entered her from the front or the back.

Patrick remains on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation, officials said.

"We think he did everything proper," said Bob Gault, public information officer for the Bradley County Sheriff's Office.

Passing motorists reported seeing the family walking north on the interstate and called deputies.

Foster reportedly attacked Patrick with a knife before going for his patrol car. He fired an unknown number of rounds. Five bullets were recovered from her body, the report said.

Witnesses said the patrol car's door had numerous bullet holes.

Despite her injuries, Foster was able to drive the patrol car about 2 1/2 miles before crashing through a barb-wire fence near the Harrison Pike overpass.

She was taken to Erlanger hospital where she died.

TBI is investigating the incident and could not be reached for comment.

Department of Children's Services initially took in the children. It was unclear Tuesday whether the children were still with the department.

Family members of Foster's in Louisville, Ky., believe she had a mental breakdown and thought the Rapture was coming, according to a Louisville report on WHAS-TV. The report said that Foster was on the phone with her sister when Patrick arrived.

"He should have known something wasn't right with her. And the way she was talking to him at that time. You could tell she was discombobulated," Foster's sister, who declined to be named, told a television reporter.

In Florida, where Foster last lived, she had no prior criminal history. She was a recent suspect in a stolen car case, but otherwise she had no prior arrest history, said Lt. James Clark of the Seminole County Sheriff's Office in Florida.

A stolen car was found near exit 20 just before the shooting.

Family members have voiced criticism of how Patrick handled the situation.

The sheriff's office said the department's general guidelines were followed.

"He was doing what he was trained to do. He reacted according to his training," Gault said.

The use of force policy states deputies can use deadly force if they believe the person will "pose a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others."

Bradley deputies have the option of carrying a Taser, Gault said, but he was unsure if Patrick carries one.