The officers were called to a Motel 6 in Bay St. Louis, Miss., for a welfare check on Wednesday.
There, at about 4:30 p.m., they encountered 43-year-old Amy Anderson, a veterinarian, parked in front of the motel on HWY 90, along with her 9-year-old daughter.
The two officers — Sergeant Steven Robin and Officer Branden Estorffe — spoke to Anderson for about 30 minutes before contacting Child Protective Services.
“She had a motel room there, and they proceeded to engage with her for about 30 minutes, having discussions with her,” Sean Tindell, commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, tells PEOPLE. During this time, Child Protective Services were called.
According to Tindell, Anderson pulled out her gun and fired on the officers. Anderson was struck by gunfire during the encounter, but it is unclear if she was hit with a round from her own gun or that of one of the officers’.
“We are waiting on a complete autopsy report before we know for certain which round did that,” Tindell says, adding that authorities believe it is “more likely” she was struck by a bullet from an officer’s gun.
Robin and Anderson died at the scene. Estorffe was taken to a local hospital where he died, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations said.
Tindell says Anderson’s daughter was in the passenger seat during the 30-minute encounter, but “we don’t know if she was there the entirety of the time.”
“We are still working on getting all these pieces together because it is a chaotic scene,” he adds. “We have three dead people, two officers, a mother of three who is a veterinarian. We are putting together different pieces of body cam footage and trying to piece it all together so we can paint a clearer picture of what exactly happened.”
Tindell says Anderson’s older children were not at the motel at the time and were staying with their father.
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“Why she would leave her home in Jackson County, which is 30 minutes away, and get a motel room at the Motel 6?,” he says. “We know she had the motel room that night.”
According to her Facebook page, Anderson, who lived in Ocean Springs, studied at Mississippi State University and was a long time veterinarian. Her Facebook page is filled with photos of her children and vacation travel.
“This is a very sad situation, and our deepest thoughts and condolences go out to the families of our lost officers,” Bay St. Louis Mayor Mike Favre said in a press release. “We ask that you pray for the City of Bay St. Louis, the Bay St. Louis Police Department and their families and that you keep them in your thoughts in the coming days and weeks during this difficult time.”
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