Suicide or officer-involved shooting? NOPD investigating death in Irish Channel

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A 38-year-old woman who lives in the Irish Channel is dead, but there are as many questions as answers about her demise.

NOPD was called to a house on Laurel near 6th Street about 8 o’clock Monday morning. They found a distraught woman standing in the side yard of her home near her van. She told police she wanted to kill herself, then reached inside the van and pulled out a handgun.

Officers ordered her to drop the gun and began backing off, then, say police, they heard a gunshot. At least one officer then fired at least one shot.

An NOPD spokesman says the woman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. They insist it was a suicide, and not an officer-involved shooting.

Both public integrity investigators and the city’s independent police monitor were called to the scene.

Neighbors say they heard at least four shots fired, but the NOPD will neither confirm nor deny that number. They say the investigation continues, but at this moment they are treating the death as a suicide.