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UPDATE: Woman fatally shot by Oil City police identified

Submitted Wed, 07/17/2013 - 2:55pm by Andy Alm


OIL CITY –Oil City police shot and killed an elderly woman who was brandishing a knife.  State Police are handling the investigation. They tell us 68-year-old Marilyn Elizabeth Peterson was shot dead by an Oil City police officer in a domestic incident.  The shooting happened shortly after 9pm Tuesday at the woman's home at 401 Central Avenue.

According to State Troopers, three Oil City police officers were responding to a domestic incident.  The complaint was made by another resident of the home.  While police officers were on the scene, Peterson allegedly brandished a large kitchen knife, initially pointing it at the officers, before turning it on herself in a threat to take her own life.  After being commanded by the officers to drop the knife, police say Peterson became aggressive and threatened them with the knife.

Police say Peterson was "not affected by non-lethal force methods utilized by police."

That's when one of the officers shot Peterson one time in the upper torso area.  Peterson was treated at the scene by Oil City Fire Department paramedics and transported to UPMC Northwest where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel and Venango County Coroner Tyler Best.

The investigation continues pending autopsy and final determination of the Venango County District Attorney's Office.

PSP Meadville are the lead investigators and were assisted at the scene by members of the Franklin station, the Venango County District Attorney's Office, and the Venango County Coroner.  All three members of the Oil City Police Department involved in the incident are presently assigned administrative duties pending the results of the investigation.

Neighbors tell all...

At the scene, we managed to speak with a neighbor, who provided us with a slightly different account of last night's events.

Fifty-three-year-old Debra Emick spoke to some of the family members last night.

According to Emick, Peterson was suicidal and trying to kill herself with a knife.  When her son called the police, Emick says Peterson stabbed one of the officers.  Another officer then fatally shot Peterson.

A second neighbor, who wished not to be identified, said Peterson did not stab anyone.  According to this neighbor, Peterson was pepper sprayed by police, which only made her angrier -- a version of the story that seems more in line with what the police had to say about the matter.

Emick told Forever Broadcasting she disapproves of the conduct of the officers.

"The son was concerned about what was going on, so he called the cops.  Well, so much protection he got there.  They ended up killing his mother," Emick said.

"In my opinion that cop has no business being a cop.  If she had a gun, maybe I would have looked at it differently.  But she had a knife."

Police did not identify the three officers involved in the incident.  Attempts to contact Oil City Police Chief Robert Wenner, both by telephone and in person, were unsuccessful.

Further details, police say, will be made available as the investigation continues.

An autopsy of Peterson was scheduled for today.