WINSLOW, Ariz. – A Winslow police officer who fatally shot a Native American woman after responding to a convenience-store shoplifting nearly eight months ago has resigned from the department, city officials said Monday.
Austin Shipley decided to quit after a meeting in which he was confronted with the results of an internal affairs investigation into the March 27 shooting of Loreal Tsingine, according to a statement from the office of Winslow city manager Steven Pauken.
Shipley's resignation was effective immediately. No reason was immediately given, but Pauken said Shipley was not forced to resign.
The Mesa Police Department concluded an internal affairs investigation last week into the shooting. Before that, the Navajo County Attorney's Office had asked for an independent prosecutorial review, and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced in July that it found no evidence of criminal conduct by Shipley.
Authorities said the 27-year-old Tsingine was holding a pair of medical scissors and posing a threat to Shipley before she was shot five times on a sidewalk.
According to a police report, Shipley attempted to detain Tsingine, but she resisted arrest and was taken to the ground.
Shipley said Tsingine swung the scissors at him, and he retreated with his gun drawn and gave multiple commands for her to stop and drop the scissors.
The police report said Tsingine didn't comply and got up and aggressively ran at Shipley with scissors in hand before he shot her. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Native American activists protested the shooting, saying it was excessive.
Tsingine's family has filed a $10.5 million notice of claim against the city, saying Shipley violated her civil rights and Winslow was negligent in "hiring, training, retaining, controlling and supervising" the policeman.
The wrongful-death claim filed in July is a precursor to a lawsuit and seeks $2 million for Tsingine's husband and $8.5 million for her 8-year-old daughter.
Lawyers for the city have declined comment on the claim, saying it's the city's policy not to talk about pending litigation.