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Deputy prepares to shoot armed woman — then makes a discovery that saves her, Wisc. cops say

A Washington County, Wisconsin, deputy nearly fired his gun at a woman who pointed her revolver at him, but noticed at the last moment that her gun’s cylinder was removed, deputies said. The woman was then arrested.
A Washington County, Wisconsin, deputy nearly fired his gun at a woman who pointed her revolver at him, but noticed at the last moment that her gun’s cylinder was removed, deputies said. The woman was then arrested. File photo

The disgruntled 49-year-old Wisconsin woman was armed with a revolver — and she aimed it squarely at a deputy, authorities said.

The Washington County deputy had arrived at the woman’s home in Erin, Wisconsin, just after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office. He was responding to reports that the woman had been let go from her job, and was threatening to shoot her former boss if he stepped foot on her property — something he needed to do to get back property that belonged to his company, the sheriff’s office said.

As the deputy showed up, the woman walked out of her house, drew her revolver and aimed it right at the deputy, the sheriff’s office said. The deputy got out his own gun and pointed it at the woman.

Given the threat the woman posed, the sheriff’s office said grabbing a gun was the appropriate reaction for the deputy. He prepared to fire.

But just moments before shooting the woman, the deputy noticed something peculiar: The cylinder had been removed from the woman’s revolver, the sheriff’s office said — rendering it effectively useless.

“If it were not for the keen observation skills of the deputy, under extreme stress, we may have been reporting on an officer involved shooting incident,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post Thursday.

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The deputy arrested the woman without any more excitement, the sheriff’s office said. She remains in custody and faces charges of reckless use of a firearm, endangering safety and disorderly conduct while armed, the sheriff’s office said.

The woman’s name was not released. She’s set to appear in county court on Friday, WISN reports.

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Authorities said the deputy is a three-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, and added that the situation “is just one example of the split second decisions law enforcement officers are faced with based upon the information he/she has at a specific moment in time.”

In particular, the situation was threatening because “the suspect had just made overt threats to shoot someone,” the sheriff’s office said.

Capt. Marty Schulteis said using deadly force would have been understandable in the situation, WISN reports.

“At face value, the deputy certainly would have been justified to use force, it would seem under those circumstances, but like I said, it could have just been the luck that he saw it at a particular angle,” Schulteis said, according to WISN.

Facebook commenters largely praised the deputy’s response.

“Goosebumps!” one user wrote. “What an amazing eye and reaction.”

The Facebook post was shared more than 200 times within 12 hours.

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