Woman injured in officer-involved shooting in Laguna Beach

A woman was shot and wounded by police in an officer-involved shooting on Sunday in downtown Laguna Beach.

What was supposed to be a relaxing day at the beach turned chaotic when police shot a woman who was reportedly armed with a handgun and making suicidal threats.

"We had reports that she was depressed and made remarks conducive to somebody having a tough time in life," Sgt. Jim Cota, Laguna Beach Police Department, said.

Cota said police were alerted to the woman who was seen driving around the area in a grey Lexus before stopping her car on St. Ann Street near South Coast Highway.

Officers made contact with her, but said she was uncooperative.

"When she did she come out of the vehicle with a firearm in her hand one of the two officers on scene discharged his firearm striking her," Cota said.

The shooting happened near a staircase that leads to the busy beach.

Witness Tony Ascencio was nearby when the gunshots went off just before 3 p.m. on Sunday.

"I just heard it really close to me so that's why I'm kind of surprised," he said.

Ascencio reported hearing six gunshots, although police won't confirm that number.

Other witnesses said the sound of gunshots sent people on the beach into a panic.

"Everyone just got up and started running to the left and it was really scary," one woman said. "We didn't know where it was coming from, if it was coming from the beach or if it was coming from above."

Police said the officer who shot the woman immediately rendered aid and called for paramedics.

She was transported to the hospital where police said she's undergoing emergency surgery, her condition is unknown.

Police are partnering with the Orange County District Attorney's office in the investigation.


The shooting took place just after 3 p.m. in the 100 block of St. Ann's Drive, the Orange County Register reported.

Police told the newspaper that a 911 caller said a woman motorist was acting suicidal somewhere on Coast Highway in a vehicle described as a blue- gray Lexus SUV.

Another call came in saying there was a woman motorist with a gun on Coast Highway near St. Ann's Drive in a vehicle that matched the earlier call, the newspaper reported.

Officers found the woman and the OIS took place during their attempt to contact her, Emergency Management Coordinator for Laguna police Jordan Villwock told the paper. There is no word yet as to how the OIS occurred or why the officers used deadly force.

The wounded woman was taken to a hospital for treatment of her gunshot wound. Her condition was unknown.

Police then blocked off the 100 block of St. Ann's Drive and the 700 block of Gaviota Drive for the OIS investigation.

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