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'TRULY HORRIFIC': Officer Fatally Shoots Former Fair Lawn Nurse Swinging Axe In Virginia Home

Gay Ellen Plack, 57, formerly of Fair Lawn.
Gay Ellen Plack, 57, formerly of Fair Lawn. Photo Credit: Gay Plack

A nurse from Fair Lawn who moved to Virginia was fatally shot by a police officer performing a welfare check at her house after she charged at him swinging an axe, authorities said.

Henrico County police responded to the home of Gay Ellen Plack -- formerly of the Radburn section -- on a welfare check Tuesday, Police Chief Humberto Cardounel said in a video release.

No one answered the officers' knocks at the front door, and so they went to the back of the house where they found an unlocked door, Cardounel said.

The officers went inside and found a locked door, calling Plack's name several times, the chief said.

When no one responded, the officers decided to force entry into the room. One officer checked around the bed in the room and the other went toward the bathroom.

The officer who entered the bathroom was confronted by a woman swinging an axe in a "cross X- Y-type configuration," the chief said.

The officer was able to dodge the axe but Plack came out of the room, charging at the other officer -- who had less than four seconds to react, according to the chief.

"The officer had to make the most difficult decision in his life and his career which is to use deadly force," Cardounel said. "This is a horrific event."

Cardounel expressed condolences to Plack's family.

The incident remains under investigation.

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