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Grand Rapids police use bean bags to stop suicidal woman

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Grand Rapids police say they were able to stop a woman from committing suicide Thursday night by shooting her several times with bean bags from a shotgun.

Police say they were called to the area of Jefferson Avenue and Cherry Street SE about 6 p.m. on reports of a 45-year-old woman stabbing herself apparently trying to commit suicide.  The woman was holding a knife to her own throat and was asking officers to shoot her.  While they were trying to talk with the woman, they say she kept cutting herself.

Police then decided to fire bean bag rounds at her to get her to drop the knife.  They hit her in the legs and they were able to take her into custody and prevent her from killing herself.

The woman has been taken to the hospital with bruises on her legs from the bean bags and the cuts that she inflicted on herself.  She is also being given a mental evaluation.

Police say that patrol supervisors are equipped with and trained to use this "less-lethal" shotgun for situations like this.

"At any moment in time, it would've been one movement and she could've caused serious harm to herself," said Grand Rapids Police Capt. Geoff Collard. "And [officers] took action very quickly after developing a plan, and that action I believe saved that lady's life last night."

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