Trending Topics

Wash. police officer recognized for de-escalating response to armed woman

The woman, who was clearly having a mental health crisis, was carrying an AK-47 and appeared to be wearing a vest filled with explosives

Officer Brad Leininger

Facebook/Pasco Police

By Cameron Probert
Tri-City Herald

PASCO, Wash. — A Pasco police officer was recognized Tuesday for how he handled having an AK-47 pointed at him twice by a woman having a mental health crisis.

Capt. Bill Parramore presented Officer Richard “Brad” Leininger with a Commanding Officer’s Citation for his work June 20.

Witnesses reported seeing Melanie Gloriosso, 48, walking down West Court Street wearing what looked like a ballistic vest and helmet and carrying an “assault” rifle on her shoulder.

She also had a “battle belt” with pouches that were later found to contain five loaded magazines for the rifle, which was loaded.

The vest appeared to be bulky, so people were concerned that she had explosives tucked inside. While she has a history of making explosives, officers did not end up finding any in the vest.

When Leininger first passed a Court Street home, he saw Gloriosso holding an AK-47 on the porch. As he drove back, he saw Gloriosso was pointing the rifle in his direction.

Leininger, a Marine Corps veteran, knew she had the rifle in a position where she was prepared to fire.
The officer could see a homeowner behind the woman trying to get her to leave.

Leininger yelled for Gloriosso to put the weapon down, but instead she pointed it at him.

“Although the AK-47 meant that there was almost no safe location within sight, Officer Leininger moved his car up, exited, began giving directions to the subject and to residents and moved to a relatively safe position behind his engine block, all at great personal risk,” Pasco police said in a Facebook post about the award.

Gloriosso reportedly told police she wanted police to shoot her in the head, according to the Facebook post.

She finally dropped the rifle when he warned her that she could be shot.

(c)2021 Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.)