A Virginia woman hired to hand out pizza samples at Costco was fatally shot yesterday by a sheriff’s deputy after she began acting strangely and brandishing a knife in the store.
According to the Washington Post, the 38-year-old woman — an employee of Club Distribution Services, a third-party company contracted by Costco to hand out food samples — began acting erratically toward the end of her Wednesday afternoon shift. The store manager tells the Post the woman was overly concerned about the number of servings per pizza box and that she was saying “crazy things.”
“She was frightening her supervisor,” recalls the manager, who says the sample-server grabbed a knife from a second sample station and began making “strange movements.”
Two deputies from the Loudon County Sheriff’s Dept. arrived around 3 p.m. and found the woman in the back of the store with the knife and possibly a pair of scissors in her hands.
Police say she ignored requests to drop the weapon.
“Preliminary indications are that she came at the deputies with a knife,” says Loudon County Sheriff Michael Chapman.
One of the deputies opened fire, killing the woman. The other deputy sustained an injury to the leg, reportedly from a ricocheting bullet fragment. He was taken out of the store on a stretcher but witnesses say he appeared to be okay.
“Everyone was running out of the building not knowing what was going on,” one shopper tells the Post about the commotion surrounding the incident. ”I was a little scared so I got out of there pretty quick.”
Another shopper describes the sample-server as “very nice, very polite.”
In a statement to NBC Washington, Club Demonstration Services writes:
“We are extremely saddened by the situation that occurred at the Costco warehouse in Sterling, Va., earlier today. We are treating this with the utmost sensitivity and are cooperating fully with the authorities as they gather more details on the events leading up to the shooting of our CDS associate. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who was affected by this event.”
The store re-opened for business this morning.