Handcuffed woman, 19, fatally shot herself, police say, but mother expresses doubts

Police are investigating after a Virginia woman reportedly fatally shot herself while handcuffed during a traffic stop last week.

Sarah Wilson, 19, was a passenger when police pulled over her boyfriend's vehicle July 25 in South Norfolk, Va., the Virginian-Pilot reported.

During the traffic stop, police handcuffed Wilson and left her to wait near the vehicle as police struggled to detain the boyfriend, identified as Holden Medlin, 27, police said.

While officers dealt with Medlin, Wilson managed to get ahold of a gun and shoot herself in the head, Portmouth, Va.'s WAVY-TV reported. Wilson was still handcuffed when she fired the weapon, but a police spokesman told the station the gun was not a police firearm. It was not immediately clear how she was able to access the weapon.

Wilson’s death was ruled a suicide, the Virginian-Pilot reported. But Wilson’s mother questioned the police version of events.

“Something went very, very wrong,” Dawn Wilson told WRAL-TV of Raleigh, N.C. “Even if their story is true … they dropped the ball. My daughter is gone,” Dawn Wilson said.

“Something went very, very wrong. Even if their story is true … they dropped the ball. My daughter is gone.”

— Dawn Wilson, mother of dead 19-year-old woman

Police body-camera footage was not available because the system had been “knocked offline” during officers' struggle with Medlin, who was ultimately subdued and arrested with the use of a stun gun, the newspaper reported.

He was charged with possession of oxycodone, suboxone and paraphernalia, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm with schedule I or II drugs and fleeing from police, WAVY reported. His arraignment was scheduled for Aug. 13.

Even if the camera had been working, it likely wouldn’t have captured Wilson’s death because the officer wearing it had been working to detain Medlin, a police spokesman said.

Police found several phones, ammunition, drug paraphernalia and a bag containing a .22-caliber rifle, while searching the vehicle, the newspaper reported, citing the search warrant.

Virginia police are conducting an investigation, according to WRAL.com. No officers involved have been placed on leave.