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BWC: Woman shoots son, points gun at Calif. officers before fatal OIS

The woman pointed a handgun at two Pacifica Police Department officers while attempting to flee the scene; both officers fired shots, fatally striking her

By Jason Green
Bay Area News Group

PACIFICA, Calif. – The Pacifica Police Department has released incomplete body-worn camera footage of an encounter where two officers shot and killed an armed woman last week, as well as the names of the officers.

In a statement Thursday, police identified the officers as Cpl. Hayden Fry and Officer Kevin Contreras. Fry is an eight-year veteran of the department. Contreras joined the department in 2023 after serving six years with another law enforcement agency.

The woman who died in the shooting was also identified as 50-year-old Michelle Arrais.

The episode began just before 8 a.m. on March 27, when a 23-year-old man called 911 to report he had been shot by Arrais, his mother, inside their apartment at 2562 Francisco Blvd., according to police. He said he was awakened by the sound of gunfire and then shot twice by his mother.

Moments after they arrived at the apartment, Fry and Contreras saw Arrais driving out of the parking lot. Police said the officers ordered Arrais to stop and she pointed a firearm at both of them, “at which time they fired their service weapons at her.”

A portion of the body-worn camera footage released by police appears to show Arrais pointing a handgun at Contreras, who was on one side of the driveway, and then at Fry, who was on the other side. The officers then fire what appear to be 10 rounds at Arrais.

“Our goal in releasing this critical incident video is to allow our community and the public to view the material as clear and straightforward as possible and see what occurred,” Pacifica police Chief Sarasua said in a statement. “We are releasing this video before the investigations and reviews are complete because we know our community is concerned whenever our officers use force, and we are determined to share as much information as possible with the community we serve.”

Police did not release the full length body-worn camera footage, citing ongoing investigations into the shooting.

Arrais died at the scene, according to police. Officers discovered her son hiding in a bathroom. He was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for his injuries and released.

Officers found a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun on Arrais and four boxes of ammunition in her purse on the front passenger seat of her vehicle, according to police.

While searching the apartment, officers discovered the family’s dog dead from apparent gunshot wounds. Police said they believe Arrais shot the dog prior to shooting her son.

Three separate investigations are underway, according to police. The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office is probing whether the shooting was in compliance with state law. The police department, meanwhile, is conducting an internal administrative investigation to determine if polices and procedures were followed, as well as a criminal investigation into the shooting of the son and the killing of the dog.

Fry and Contreras have been placed on paid administrative leave, per department protocol.

VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED: Video contains graphic content.

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