Courtney Topic

Courtney TopicName: Courtney Jayde Topic
Died: February 10, 2015
Age at death: 22
Cause of death: Police shooting
Location: Sydney, Australia

Details:
Courtney Topic was 22 years old. She worked as a teacher’s aide. Her mother says she was “a loving, caring, honest, genuine, gentle soul” who was “beautiful, intelligent, sweet, quirky, creative, [and] quick-witted”.

Someone reported Courtney walking around with a kitchen knife. She was described as “zombie-like” by an observer, talking out loud to no one in particular. Cell phone video of the incident shows Courtney as non-hostile in all respects other than holding the large knife; she was also holding a soda and sipping on it.

Police arrived, lights flashing and sirens blaring, yelling at Courtney to drop the knife. Courtney did not respond to their commands. She managed to say, “Leave me alone,” but quickly became more and more overwhelmed.

Police used a Taser and pepper spray on Courtney. The Taser misfired; the pepper spray hit. Disoriented, she dropped her cup and stumbled away, in the direction of the road and toward a policeman with his gun raised. The man fired a single shot into her chest.

She died at the scene, only 41 seconds after police first arrived.

A witness noted, “There were four or five officers basically running towards her and she was trying to run away and the copper just shot her in the stomach. She was surrounded by all four corners so the only way out was to run towards a cop anyway, it would have been a hard situation.”

Courtney’s mother believes she might have been having a first episode of schizophrenia at the time, impairing her ability to react to her surroundings even more than her autism alone would have.

References:
Woman shot dead by police after wandering ‘zombie-like’ in the street brandishing a knife was ‘unable to understand their commands because she had Asperger’s syndrome’
Hungry Jack’s shooting victim Courtney Topic had Asperger’s, expert says
People with Asperger’s Syndrome risk being misunderstood by police
Father ‘struggling’ after daughter Courtney Topic shot dead at Hungry Jack’s
Courtney Topic’s family release statement, photo
Sydney woman ‘likely psychotic’ when shot dead by police: court
Police officer shot Courtney Topic dead at Hungry Jack’s just 41 seconds after arriving
The Woman Shot By Police Outside A Hungry Jack’s Might Have Been Schizophrenic, Court Hears
Courtney Topic inquest after fatal police shooting
Police shooting woman ‘suffered psychosis’
‘Unanswered questions’: mother cries for answers at violent death of daughter
Courtney Topic inquest: Young woman was ‘tormented for years’
Police tactics ‘entirely inappropriate’ in shooting death of Courtney Topic, coroner says
Death of woman shot by police ‘could have been avoided’: coroner
‘We will take this to our graves’: Courtney Topic’s death was preventable, coroner finds
‘Courtney had a knife out in public but she didn’t deserve to die’

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