Police: Woman killed by officers had real-looking replica gun

Police: Woman killed by officers had real-looking replica gun

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Police confirmed Thursday that a woman shot dead by officers was holding a replica gun.

Maria Zarate, 31, was killed in a confrontation with officers Tuesday morning on Magic Avenue. Police said that day that Zarate was "suicidal" was shot after she pointed a gun at officers. Efforts by a mental health professional at the scene proved fruitless, police said.

Police released side-by-side photos of Zarate's replica gun and a real Sig Sauer semiautomatic handgun, contending, "The replica firearm has specific detail work making it appear authentic ..."

Zarate's brother, who did not want to be publicly identified, first told Eyewitness News on Wednesday that his sister had a fake gun.

"Five cops shot more than twice at a woman holding an Airsoft gun," the brother said.

Still, he admitted officers in the street might not have known the gun was a replica.

"They didn't know it was a fake gun, supposedly, so I guess they had to do what they had to do," the brother said.