ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- The niece of a 92-year-old woman shot to death by police said her aunt likely had reason to shoot three narcotics investigators as they stormed her house.
Police insisted the officers did everything right before entering the home Tuesday evening, despite suggestions from the woman's neighbors and relatives that it was a case of mistaken identity.
The woman, Kathryn Johnston, was the only resident in the house at the time and had lived there for about 17 years, Assistant Chief Alan Dreher said.
The officers had a legal warrant, "knocked and announced" before they forced open the door and were justified in shooting once fired upon, he said.
Sarah Dozier, the niece, told WAGA-TV that there were never drugs at the house. (Watch niece's fury at police shooting Video)
"My aunt was in good health. I'm sure she panicked when they kicked that door down," Dozier said. "There was no reason they had to go in there and shoot her down like a dog."
As the plainclothes Atlanta police officers approached the house about 7 p.m., a woman inside started shooting, striking each of them, said Officer Joe Cobb, a police spokesman.
One was hit in the arm, another in a thigh and the third in a shoulder. The officers were taken to a hospital for treatment, and all three were conscious and alert, police said.
The Rev. Markel Hutchins, a civil rights leader, said Johnston's family deserves an apology.
"Of the police brutality cases we've had, this is the most egregious because of the woman's age," Hutchins said.
Hutchins said he would try to meet with Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington and would also meet with lawyers.