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Answers slow in Longview police department shooting

Jan. 23, 2015 at 10 p.m.

<p>A visitor talks with police officers in the lobby on Friday at the Police and Courts Building.</p>

Three Longview police officers were placed on paid leave Friday after the shooting death of a Longview teenager in the lobby of the Longview Police Department.

Officials identified the victim of the Thursday night incident as Kristiana Coignard, 17, a former Pine Tree ISD student who police say was shot after brandishing a weapon at officers.

Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Mathis, the official who declared her dead, said she was shot "multiple times."

Beyond those facts, many other unanswered questions remained late Friday about the teen's death about 6:30 p.m. in the lobby of the central police station at 302 W. Cotton St., and the overnight lockdown of the station. Among them: What led Coignard to enter the station and ask to speak to an officer? What did she say? What happened in the station's lobby before the teen was shot and taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center, where she was declared dead? What sort of weapon did Coignard have?

The incident is under investigation by the Texas Rangers. The three officers placed on leave have not been identified.

Police say Coignard entered the department just before 6:30 p.m. Thursday and picked up a lobby phone that rings directly to police dispatch.

Police spokeswoman Kristie Brian said the department keeps a record of calls from the lobby. They are recorded as 1122 - Lobby Calls, and calls to dispatch are recorded.

Coignard told the communications employees she needed an officer.

When officers arrived in the lobby, she confronted them and brandished a weapon. She "came at the officers" and was shot, Brian said.

Officers from across the city rushed to the scene. Some, who were on duty, came in response to a call for all officers to return to station. Brian said some officers working the midnight shift came in early to help cover calls.

"Some of the officers were called to the station because they had to have officers to secure the scene," she said. "I am sure whenever they heard shots fired, officers are going to come running anyway."

The station was relatively empty at the time of the incident, Brian added.

"At that time of the day the only people in the building usually are the person who works the desk, the civilian who answers calls, and then there are a few public safety communications people," she said. "Then, if you have any officers in the PD. Other than that, no other civilian employees are at the PD at that time."

The shooting is being investigated by Texas Ranger Brent Davis of Tyler.

Neither Brian nor Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Jean Dark could confirm the type of weapon Coignard brandished at officers.

"Not at this time," Dark said.

Longview Mayor Jay Dean said Thursday he was told a "female wielding a knife entered into the police department."

Family members of Coignard did not respond to requests for comment.

Pine Tree ISD spokeswoman Mary Whitton said the teen was a student in the district in 2013. She did not say whether Coignard graduated.

Brian also declined to say whether they were veteran or new employees with the department.

- Staff reporters Richard Yeakley, Bridget Ortigo and Glenn Evans contributed to this report.



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