An officer fatally shot a pregnant woman who police suspected of shoplifting Thursday night in an Ohio grocery store parking lot after officials say she accelerated her car toward an officer.

Blendon Township Police Chief John Belford called the shooting a “tragedy” and an “unfortunate loss of life” in a video statement.

The chief did not identify the woman or disclose she was pregnant, but the Franklin County Coroner’s Office identified her as 21-year-old Ta’kiya Young and confirmed she was pregnant.

The office said she was pronounced dead shortly before 7:45 p.m. Thursday.

While Blendon Township officers were helping a driver who was locked out of her car outside a Kroger, a store employee told officers about a theft by someone who was fleeing, the chief said.

Ohio officers investigate an officer involved shooting outside a Kroger supermarket in Westerville, Ohio, on Aug. 25, 2023.
Ohio officers investigate an officer involved shooting outside a Kroger supermarket in Westerville, Ohio, on Friday.WCMH

Store employees later told police that several people had stolen items and fled in cars.

One woman suspected of theft was in a car parked in front of the grocery store, Belford said.

She started the car, and an officer approached on the driver’s side and ordered her to get out, the chief said.

“She ignored the order and the other officer came from in front of the car and also ordered the woman to get out of the car,” Belford said. “Despite being ordered to get out of the car more than a dozen times, she refused to do so.”

He continued, “The woman put the car in gear and accelerated forward. The officer who was directly in the path of the oncoming car fired one shot through the front windshield.”

Body camera video shows the officer who fired was directly in the path of the Lexus, Belford said, adding that the department plans to release the video “as soon as the necessary legal redactions can be made.”

“The car kept moving and officers ran after it for about 50 feet. It then came to a stop on the sidewalk outside the store,” he said.

After the shooting, officers tried to get to the woman but the door was locked so they broke the driver’s-side window to begin medical assistance and called emergency medical personnel, the chief said. The woman, Belford said, was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Belford said he asked the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to lead an investigation.

Two officers, who have not been publicly identified, have been placed on administrative leave, the chief said.

The Office of Ohio Attorney General, which oversees the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, confirmed in a statement the independent inquiry by the bureau into the deadly shooting.

Court records from Franklin County Municipal Court show a warrant was issued Monday for Young for an alleged violation of a protection order or consent agreement.

Nadine Young, 61, of Columbus, Ohio, said Friday that her granddaughter was a mother of two boys, ages 3 and 6, and was expecting a daughter in November. She said the unborn child did not survive.

“My understanding is she locked the car doors because she seen the police coming at her with guns,” Young said. “She was scared for her life. They didn’t have to kill her and her baby.”

While many things remain unknown in the shooting, some things are clear, Young said.

“An unarmed Black female was killed. That’s what we know. Two kids have no mama.”

She said her family expects body camera footage to show something different from the account police have given.

“She did everything in her power to take care of her two kids,” Young said. “She was a good and positive kid who didn’t deserve to be killed.”

Blendon Township Police will also investigate the officers’ actions, the chief said.

“Following the Bureau of Criminal Investigations’ work, I will do the normal review to determine if policies and procedures were followed,” Belford said.

“In every case, we hold employees accountable,” he said.