HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico Police Chief H. I. Cardounel Jr. appeared in a YouTube video Thursday to detail the interaction that led to a fatal officer-involved shooting two days before. Chief Cardounel said the woman who was killed, 57-year-old Gay E. Plack, was “wielding and swinging an ax” before she was shot.
Plack’s brother, Bob Bostock, spoke with 8News on Friday about her death and battle with bipolar disorder. Bostock said he is demanding more answers about his younger sister’s death.
“She was scared to death,” he said. “As it turns out, she should’ve been.”
Authorities said they responded to a home in the 2900 block of Huntwick Court, off Pump Road, for a wellness check around 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 17.
“I don’t understand how a wellness check turns into the death of the person they were going there to check to make sure they were okay,” Bostock said in an interview with 8News on FaceTime.
Cardounel says in the video that two officers entered the home to conduct a welfare check. He said that the officers did not initially find anyone in the house. The officers, according to Cardounel, eventually found a locked room in the house.
“After several attempts, after announcing their presence, after calling out her name and getting no response, a decision was made to force entry to what was later determined to be a bedroom,” the police chief said in the video. “To, again, to verify there was no one in house in distress.”
Cardounel says the two officers get access to the locked bedroom and one of them enter the bathroom while the other checks around the bed. He then claims that Plack confronted the officer who entered the bathroom while “wielding and swinging an ax.”
The officer was able to get out of the bathroom unharmed, according to Cardounel, but Plack then comes out of the bathroom and charges the other officer in the bedroom “swinging an ax.”
“The officer at that point literally had less than four seconds to make a decision,” Cardounel says. “Made several attempts, pleaded for her to stop.” After Plank refused to stop, according to Cardounel, the officer used deadly force.
“The officer had to make the most difficult decision in his life, in his career, which was to use deadly force,” Cardounel said in the video.
The medical examiner’s office confirmed to 8News that Plack was shot in the abdomen and the manner of death was homicide. Bostock told 8News on Friday that something doesn’t add up for him.
“The people who were sent there to help her, killed her, and that’s wrong,” he said.
Bostock explained that Plack battled bipolar disorder but that she knew how to get herself back on track.
“She always fought back,” he said, “she’s always did what she had to do. I can’t imagine how terrified she must have been.”
While Bostock said he knows that he can’t bring her back, he hopes his sister gets justice and changes are made.
“And I also think they really need to rethink the training of their officers when they’re called in for a wellness check on someone who suffers from mental illness,” Bostock told 8News. “There are other people suffering from mental illness who could find themselves in the exact same situation, and we don’t want anybody else to end up the way she ended up.”