Crime

Gastonia woman dies after shooting by police

Gastonia Police at the scene of a police involved shooting at a home on Union Road in Gastonia, a woman was shot by police on Feb. 17,2015
Gastonia Police at the scene of a police involved shooting at a home on Union Road in Gastonia, a woman was shot by police on Feb. 17,2015 rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

A Gastonia woman was fatally shot Tuesday by a police officer responding to a domestic dispute.

It was the second fatal shooting by Gastonia police in as many weeks.

Officer LaDoniqua Neely fired the shot that killed Betty Diane Sexton, authorities said. Sexton, 43, was shot in the chest and pronounced dead at CaroMont Regional Medical Center.

Officers were sent to a Union Road home at about 11:45 a.m. in reference to a domestic disturbance call, police said.

It’s unclear whether Sexton was armed or if any one else was involved in the shooting. Details about the domestic disturbance incident were not available.

The police department has requested an independent investigation from the State Bureau of Investigation. Once the SBI finishes the investigation, it will give its findings to the Gaston County District Attorney’s Office, which will determine if Neely was justified in shooting Sexton.

Neely, who has been with the police department since January 2012, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Sexton’s death is the second officer-involved shooting reported in Gastonia within the last two weeks and the third reported so far this year.

On Feb. 7, police shot and killed James Howard Allen, 74, after they say he held a handgun at them during a welfare check. Allen, an Army veteran who had recently undergone heart surgery, allegedly refused to lower the gun before officers fired on him.

Last month, a detective shot Brady Alan Hines, 46, after he allegedly stabbed a night-shift clerk at a QuikTrip gas station on Long Avenue. Hines was hospitalized and later charged with attempted first-degree murder.

“We haven’t had this many officer-involved shootings this close together since I started working here in 1994,” said Donna Lahser, Gastonia police spokeswoman.

McFadden: 704-358-6045

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