Police: Officers fatally shot Atlanta woman who was stabbing her young child to death

Crime scene at a northwest Atlanta home where a woman reportedly stabbed her toddler to death.
Crime scene at a northwest Atlanta home where a woman reportedly stabbed her toddler to death.

(CBS/WGCL/AP) ATLANTA - Police in Atlanta fatally shot a woman Monday whIle she reportedly stabbed her toddler to death and refused to comply with police orders to put down the knife.

Police and fire rescue personnel were called to the northwest Atlanta home after the woman's 8-year-old son told a neighbor his mother had attacked him, according to CBS affiliate WGCL.

Police were told an 8-year-old boy had been assaulted by his mother and thrown out a window, said an Atlanta Police spokesman, Maj. Keith Meadows.

When police arrived at the house, a witness reportedly told them the child's mother was inside with a toddler whom police said was between the ages of 2 and 5. According to a family friend and neighbor, Charles Harris, the child was 4-years-old and autistic, reports WGCL.

As officers entered the home they found the woman inside, sitting in a chair and stabbing the toddler.

According to a police spokesperson, the officers drew their service weapons and ordered the woman to put down the knife. When she refused, two officers shot at her. During the incident, which reportedly occurred around 1:30 p.m., officers fired 10 to 16 shots and the woman was killed by the gunfire.

Police spokesman Carlos Campos said the stabbing victim was dead at the scene, while the 8-year-old boy was hospitalized in stable condition with apparently minor injuries. Police said they did not know if the daughter had been struck by a bullet, and did not know a motive for the attacks on the children.

Harris says he believes the mother reached her breaking point, reports WGCL.

"Her lights had been cut off, she was struggling real bad. They were in the dark, no food, you know, I had to help her sometimes. I think she just snapped because she was by my house yesterday, saying nine demons came out of her, that she had been possessed," Harris said.

Police investigators were checking to see if the woman had a history of violence or mental illness, reports WGCL.

Campos said the officers involved in the shooting will be placed on routine administrative leave during the investigation. Police are not releasing the names of any of the officers involved in the shooting.