Police may review search procedures

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Police may review how suspect searches are handled after a woman managed to hide a gun from officers just before a deadly shootout.

Killed in Thursday night's shooting were Melissa Schmidt, a 35-year-old officer who had been with the department for about six years, and the suspect, 60-year-old Martha Donald.

Police say Schmidt and fellow officer Tammy Friestleben appeared to follow proper procedure after responding to complaints of Donald brandishing a gun at her apartment complex in south Minneapolis.

"Someway, somehow, the gun was missed," police Lt. Dale Barsness said. The officers didn't place Donald under arrest and wanted to question her more. Before she would agree, however, she asked to go to the bathroom, Hennepin County Sheriff's spokeswoman Roseann Campagnoli said.


The officers patted Donald down before they agreed to let her use the bathroom.

Generally, police feel for weapons in the waistband, in the pockets of any loose clothing and possibly in the crotch area, depending on the type of clothing the suspect is wearing. Donald was wearing jeans, Barsness said.

Officers also searched her purse and found bullets in it, Campagnoli said.

Donald apparently was cooperating, because officers called a "code four" over the radio, which meant they had the scene under control and didn't need further backup, Inspector Sharon Lubinski said Saturday.

After the investigation by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is complete, Lubinski said, police officials may want to change the way searches are conducted.

"(Weapons) would be easy enough to conceal, so we may want to relook at our search policy," she said.

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