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Police Can’t Get Their Story Straight After a Deputy Fatally Shoots a Texas Woman | The Nation

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Steven Hsieh

Steven Hsieh

Stories that matter. Tips: shsieh@thenation.com.

Police Can’t Get Their Story Straight After a Deputy Fatally Shoots a Texas Woman

Yvette Smith

Yvette Smith with her son. (KXAN-TV)

Questions abound following the fatal shooting of a Texas woman by a sheriff’s deputy Sunday, centering on conflicting statements as to whether she was armed.

Deputy Daniel Willis fatally shot Yvette Smith, 47, after responding to a 911 call at a residence at 105 Zimmerman Avenue regarding an argument between two men over a gun, according to local police. Smith died later at a local hospital.

Bastrop County police initially claimed that Smith, who is black, walked to the doorstep with a gun and refused to follow officers’s commands before she was shot. A subsequent statement, released hours later, said investigators “cannot confirm” that Smith was armed or refused to follow commands. The sheriff’s department has placed Willis, who is white, on administrative leave.

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One of the men involved in the reported argument, Willie Thomas, who was the homeowner and Smith’s boyfriend, told the Austin Statesman that she did not have a gun when the incident occurred. Smith’s 25-year-old son Anthony Bell said his mother was uneasy around guns.

Bell added that there was, indeed, an argument in the residence over a gun, but no gun was in the home.

The Bastrop Sheriff’s Department chose not to comment, pending further investigations.

Here’s more about Yvette Smith from the Statesman:

Smith worked at the Austin State Hospital as a caretaker until a few months ago, when she had knee surgery, and enjoyed her time off, listening to blues music on her front porch and smoking a cigar, family members said.

Smith was a single mother who was loving yet stern to Bell and his 18-year-old brother, family members said. While teaching them the value of a dollar and pushing them to do chores, she also spoiled them.

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