Woman shot by police at Detroit gas station was waving Airsoft gun

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Detroit — Investigators have identified the woman officers shot Sunday at an east side gas station after she waved a gun at customers and pointed it at police, officials said.

Detroit Police Chief James White said the woman who was shot was Nakita Williams, 33, of Detroit. In addition, he said Williams might have suffered from a mental illness and the weapon she brandished at the store was an Airsoft gun. He said the shooting remains under investigation.

Detroit police released images of a woman they say is Nakita Williams, 33, pointing a weapon at customers of an east side gas station on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021. She was shot by officers.

"I offer my condolences to Miss Williams' family," the chief said during a news conference Monday at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters. He was joined by his executive staff.

"It was a very tragic situation that unfolded last night," White said.

The chief also said he was providing the update Monday to be transparent about what happened.

"Our preliminary investigation shows our officers acted bravely, they had to make a split-second decision when they were confronted with a very, very volatile situation and a very tragic situation," White said. "It's most tragic for the Williams family, but certainly tragic for the officers involved as well. They are taking this situation hard."

White said the findings at this point show the officers acted according to department policy.

The shooting happened at about 6 p.m. Sunday at a Sunoco gas station in the 15000 block of East Seven Mile near Hayes.

Williams arrived at the store, cut in front of three customers who were waiting at the cash register and produced the gun, officials said.

The woman allegedly waved a gun at the store's patrons and aimed it at the four police officers who arrived at the scene, according to authorities. She was standing at the store's entrance and pointing the gun at customers at the gas station's pumps when the officers arrived, White said.

He said the woman later aimed her gun at the officers and they fired their weapons at her. She did not fire any shots.

On Sunday, White said he did not know how many shots were fired by officers. He said Monday he couldn't disclose that information because of an ongoing investigation conducted by Michigan State Police and the department's homicide task force. Their findings will be submitted to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office once it's concluded.

On Monday, White said officers took the woman to the hospital in a patrol car. She died at a hospital, he said Sunday.

After the shooting, officers kicked the weapon away from the woman and that's when they learned the weapon was an Airsoft gun — they saw a CO2 cartridge attached to it, the chief said. 


Twitter: @CharlesERamirez