The woman a Golden Valley police officer shot and killed on I-394 on Thursday has been identified.
Katherine Marie Gordon, 58, of Altadena, CA, died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to a spokeswoman from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office. The manner of death is listed as homicide.
The officer tried to stop a woman in a vehicle on I-394 near Highway 169, according to a statement from Stacy Carlson, Golden Valley police chief. The driver pulled the car to the side of 394 near the Hopkins Crossroad.
"The lone occupant of the vehicle, an adult female, was in possession of a handgun and was subsequently fatally shot by the officer," Carlson's statement said. "The officer did not sustain any injuries."
In a statement Saturday morning, Carlson declined to provide more information about the shooting, including whether or not Gordon pointed the gun at the officer.
The Star Tribune is reporting, through an unnamed source within the Golden Valley Police Department, that Gordon had a history of mental illness and pointed her gun at the officer. However, that report contradicts what her friend, Charmaine Wahlstrom Schodde, said she knew of Gordon.
"Katherine was a beautiful woman inside and out. She was meticulous and cautious," Schodde wrote in an email to Dan Abendschein of Altadena Patch in California. "A good and loving person who had a gentle and loving spirit."
that Gordon lived in Altadena but was a frequent visitor to Minnesota. Gordon stayed with family and friends for long periods of time, including at Schodde's house last year.
In the email to Abendschein, Schodde said she found Gordon's death "absolutely shocking," adding there's "absolutely no way that Katherine would have intended to shoot an officer."
When officers are dealing with a person with a weapon, they are trained to "stop the threat, which means aiming for the center mass of a suspect’s body," Police Chief Carlson said.
"After an officer-involved shooting, it is common for the public to ask why the officer didn’t just shoot the gun out of someone’s hand or hit them in the kneecap—like they do on TV," Carlson said. "The answer is that TV is not reality, and many officers have been killed by someone who was able to continue firing a gun even after being partially wounded."
The police department hasn't identified the officer, who is on paid administrative leave. A Minneapolis Star Tribune article, however, identifies him as Rob Zarrett. That article says Zarrett was the subject of a lawsuit stemming from a 2005 incident in which he fired a stun gun at a woman as she sat in the passenger seat of a vehicle. The woman later sued the Golden Valley Police Department and the case was settled for $250,000.
Golden Valley Patch hasn't confirmed the information in the Star Tribune article.
The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is in charge of the investigation.
The last time a shot someone was in 1994, Carlson said, and it's been 31 years since a Golden Valley officer fatally shot someone.
Carlson also said, "The instance of needing to draw a gun in response to a suspect who has a gun is rare."
The police chief said officers "frequently" patrol the freeway or respond to incidents there.
Patch local editors James Warden, Michael Rose, Becky Glander and Dan Abendschein contributed to this report.