Over the many years, I have come to expect the criminal element to hide drugs, contraband, blades, handcuff keys, nail files, cellphones, liquid explosives, thumb drives, bullets and, yes, guns in every nook and cranny of their bodies. Every time I think about Officer Melissa Jayne Schmidt of the Minneapolis P. D. I wish she would have had some sort of portable scanner back on August 1st, 2002, but she and her backup officer didn’t. The rest is a tragic asterisk in law enforcement history. And as do so many incidents where cops tried to deal with the nuts and berries in the passing parade, questions remain, too.
See, on August 1st, 2002, Officer Schmidt and her partner responded to a subject with a gun call at a housing project shortly after 7 p.m. that summer evening.
Now stay with me. The coppers had made contact with a 60 year old female, Martha Donald, and while the officers were questioning her, she said she needed to go to the bathroom. Keep in mind, at this point the officers had not found a gun, BUT they HAD found some 38 caliber rounds in the woman’s purse. No clarity on whether Ms. Donald had been frisked, but the chief at the time said there was evidence that indicated Officer Schmidt had conducted a pat down before Donald asked to use the bathroom. Officer Schmidt escorted her to the public restroom in the lobby, of the building, and while in the restroom, Schmidt’s partner heard her yelling out: “SHOW ME YOUR HANDS!”
When the partner rushed into the bathroom, she saw the woman seated on the toilet and struggling with Officer Schmidt. It was at that point Martha Donald pulled a gun and began firing. The partner fell to the ground, thinking she’d been hit after a bullet barely missed her head. Then, Schmidt and Donald exchanged shots. Officer Schmidt was hit in the abdomen below her vest but was able to return fire and killed the suspect. Four hours later, Officer Schmidt, too, was dead.
Here’s the kicker. Police later said it wasn’t absolutely clear where Donald had hidden her gun, but the fecal matter found on it indicated a strong likelihood she had placed it between the cheeks of her ample buttocks. Martha Donald had faked the need to use the bathroom. She had basically lured the cops into a vicious gun battle because when she squatted down onto that toilet, she had access the 38 which had been lodged between the cheeks of her ass.
So next time a subject asks, even begs to use the bathroom, what will you do, huh? Will you remember Melissa Jayne Schmidt and take any special precautions? Are there some ‘what if’ scenarios YOU need to think about? just asking.
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