Olathe, KS – A gun-wielding woman was fatally shot by officers after she pointed her .45 caliber handgun at police during a standoff that exceeded three hours, a recently released bodycam video showed.
A warrant for aggravated escape from custody had been issued for Howard on Aug. 21, 2017, after she violated her probation by failing to return to a residential center.
Police received a call on Aug. 23, 2017, and learned that Howard could be found at the home of her boyfriend, Larry Sumners.
Investigators responded to Sumners’ residence at approximately 2 p.m.
Howard, who was alone, barricaded herself in the home, and initiated a standoff that lasted for over three hours.
Bodycam video of the fatal encounter, released on Tuesday, showed 26 minutes of the standoff.
“Ciara, I need you to go out the back door, and I need you to do it now!” an officer repeatedly instructed as police slowly moved further into Sumner’s home.
“I need to think about this,” Howard shouted back at one point in the video, and asked the officer to “be patient.”
She demanded to know what would occur if she cooperated.
“You’re going to get a bond, just like every time we pick you up,” the officer said. “There are no new charges yet.”
Howard was repeatedly asked to come out of the room, and to show her hands.
“I don’t want to release this dog,” the officer said on multiple occasions. “As long as you post your bond you can get right back out and come right back here.”
Howard could be heard laughing at times during the standoff.
She eventually cracked the door to the laundry room where she was barricaded, but still refused to exit.
Howard then called the K-9 officer to her, and began barking and growling at the dog when it barked at her.
“Your dog started it,” Howard told the officer after her exchange with the K-9.
As officers continued to close the distance between themselves and Howard, she became more confrontational, and demanded that officers prove they were all truly law enforcement.
“Can I see more than one different mother f*****g badge?” she argued. “I ain’t going out there until I know you’re legitimate police!”
“That’s enough Ciara, get out here,” the lead officer said.
Howard briefly argued further before saying something unintelligible.
“F**k you,” she declared, as she slammed the door in the officer’s face.
Officers immediately forced their way into the laundry room, and were they were confronted by the armed woman.
“Gun!” one officer alerted as others repeatedly screamed at Howard to drop her weapon.
Howard was clearly agitated as she yelled back at officers, and repeatedly pointed her gun at officers.
The exchange lasted for thirteen seconds before officers opened fire after she pointed her gun at them again.
The video then blurred to obscure graphic content, but audio continued.
“Medical in here now!” an officer yelled. “Breathe, breathe, Ciara. Breathe.”
“She’s gone,” someone said in the video. “No pulse.”
On Sep. 12, 2017, the Johnson County District Attorney determined that officers’ use of force was justified, The Kansas City Star reported.
Howard’s family argued that she was mentally unstable and claimed that she didn’t pose a risk to anyone but herself.
“Why couldn’t they have waited?” Howard’s stepfather, Mark Arnold said. “If they’d packed up and gone home — left a couple of cars on the street — they probably could’ve picked her up an hour later going to the store to get cigarettes.”
Two Olathe Police Department (OPD) officers and a deputy with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office were placed on administrative leave after the officer-involved shooting, as per protocol, The Kansas City Star reported.
The shooting was later ruled to be justified. Olathe officers returned to active duty on Sep. 1, OPD Sergeant Logan Bonney said.
There are two videos below; one with the end of the confrontation, and a much longer version which shows more of the incident.