A 56-year-old San Francisco woman will stand trial for multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly threatening two police officers with a knife before they shot her in the torso and face, a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday.
Prosecutors with the San Francisco District Attorney's office have charged Teresa Sheehan with five felony counts, including assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon and assault with a deadly weapon, as well as making criminal threats against a social worker at her Mission District transitional housing apartment unit.
Judge Raymond Arata held Sheehan to answer on all the charges at the conclusion of her preliminary hearing this morning. She is scheduled to return to court Sept. 17 to set a trial date.
Sheehan, diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and who had been recently refusing medication, according to the social worker, refused to come out of her room on the morning of Aug. 7 and threatened to kill the social worker, who then called police, according to court testimony.
Sheehan similarly threatened the two female officers who responded and tried to transport Sheehan to the hospital for evaluation.
The officers, Sgt. Kim Reynolds and Officer Kathrine Holder, testified that Sheehan then grabbed a serrated kitchen knife and began waving it around at them.
When Sheehan approached Holder with the knife raised over her head in the narrow hallway outside her room, Reynolds first pepper-sprayed Sheehan, but she continued to advance and they both fired, they said.
It took approximately five shots before Sheehan fell to the floor, they testified.
Both Reynolds and Holder testified that they fired because Holder was cornered and in immediate danger.
The officers, however, differed in their testimony about whether Reynolds, who fired the final shots, shot Sheehan in the face after Sheehan had already collapsed.
Sheehan's attorney Kleigh Hathaway contended their response constituted excessive force.
Hathaway said other officers arriving with a less-lethal option were “seconds away” at the time. She also argued the charges should have been reduced to misdemeanors.
According to Hathaway, the two officers “allowed the situation to get out of control.”
Sheehan's “one request was not followed,” said Hathaway. “Her one request was 'Leave me alone.'”
Though Arata maintained that the facts presented to him did support the charges, he added, “I do not consider this a state prison case. I don't think anybody would.”
Sheehan remains in custody in lieu of $200,000 bail, though Hathaway said she intends to present a proposal next week for Sheehan's supervised released for treatment.
Arata indicated he would consider a specific treatment plan that would “enhance the probability that she will be under medication and not a danger to the public,” he said.
Both Reynolds and Holder have been placed on standard administrative leave pending a separate investigation into their conduct by the district attorney's office.