Officer distraught after killing mom, daughter

A Gwinnett County police officer shot and killed a suicidal Duluth woman and her elderly mother on Tuesday -- and is devastated about what happened, -- a department spokeswoman said.

The officer, a 10-year-veteran of the department, did not know that 51-year-old Penny Schwartz had made threats that she wanted police to kill her, said Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman. T

The only information that the officer had prior to her arrival at the home of the 911 caller in the 3000 block of Tracey Drive was that Schwartz was threatening suicide.

Police said the mother, Barbara Baker, 74, called 911 for help with the situation.

“As far as what was said in the 911 call, that is being investigated also,” Spellman said. “All the information was not there for the officer when she got there.”

The officer, whose name was not released Wednesday, was shaken up by the experience, Spellman said.

“There is no way that the officer was expecting for the daughter to point a gun at her,” Spellman said. “[The officer] was shaking last night, she was upset about what happened.”

Police said that while the officer and Baker were talking, the daughter came downstairs holding a gun that she pointed at the officer. Feeling threatened, the officer fired, Spellman said.

Both women were hit, police said. It was not immediately known how many shots the officer fired.

Baker died at the scene. Schwartz was taken to a nearby hospital, where she later died, according to police.

“We don’t know if the mother stepped into the officer’s line of fire,” Spellman said.

Crime scene and shoot team investigators were working to determine what happened and make sure that the officer’s story lines up with evidence collected at the scene, she said. Police declined to release the 911 tape because the investigation is still pending.

Spellman said a sister of Penny Schwartz was in the home at the time of the shooting but did not witness it.

The officer was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, Spellman said.

Staff Writers Mike Morris and Marcus K. Garner contributed to this article.