Fatal shooting
A witness says an armed woman who was killed by deputies was ranting about a race war before the confrontation in downtown Half Moon Bay. Photo courtesy San Mateo County Sheriff's Office

Updated 4:45 p.m.: A woman armed with a rifle and carrying alcohol was shot and killed by San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office deputies after a gunfight downtown on Tuesday evening, according to authorities.

At around 7:25 p.m. Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the 800 block of Main Street, near the new Pasta Moon location. The report indicated a caucasian woman was carrying a gun and alcohol. A post an hour earlier on the social media site NextDoor from a Half Moon Bay resident said a woman carrying a rifle walk past and said, “Stay safe because there is going to be a race war tonight.”

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said in a press release that the woman fired on the first deputy to arrive. A second deputy arrived and together they told the woman to get on the ground. She did not comply, according to the release, but her gun was on the ground. When she moved to pick it up, the deputies fired and struck the woman.

Aid was administered at the scene and the woman was transported to a hospital where she later died from her injuries. The woman was later identified by the San Mateo County Coroner's Office as 56-year-old Sandra Lee Harmon, a Half Moon Bay resident.  

The Sheriff’s Office said deputies were unharmed in the exchange.

Sheriff’s Office deputies have used deadly force in a standoff in Half Moon Bay before. In 2014, deputies killed an armed 18-year-old woman who suffered from mental illness. San Mateo County’s district attorney found that the deputy’s actions in that case were justifiable despite the claims of excessive force.

This story will be updated as information becomes available.

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