Houston Police shoot dead Double Amputee in Wheelchair
Double Amputee In Wheelchair Shot Dead By Houston Police
Monday, September 24, 2012
A Houston police officer shot and killed double amputee who was threatening to stab an officer with what turned out to be a pen.
The dead man is Brian Claunch. Above you see a picture of Mr. Claunch.
The name of the officer who pulled the trigger was Matthew Marin.
From the Houston Chronicle—
“A schizophrenic double amputee waving a writing pen from his wheelchair was fatally shot early Saturday by a Houston police officer, authorities said….Police were called to the East End personal care home around 2 a.m. because resident Brian Claunch had become agitated after his caretaker refused to give him a soda and a cigarette…. ”He was approaching them aggressively,” said Houston Police Department spokeswoman Jodi Silva. “He was attempting to stab them with what is now found to be a pen.”..Claunch, who had been living at the home for the past 18 months with two other men, ignored officers’ commands and made threats against them and other occupants of the home… Claunch trapped one of the officers in a corner, authorities said…Claunch told him that he lost his right leg to just above the knee and all of his right arm when he was hit by a train… The victim, who was in his mid-40s, came to the East End personal care home more than a year ago, as part of a placement by the Harris County guardianship program. …Claunch liked to “doodle” and two days ago…(was) given…a black felt pen to draw with.”
Here is the report on the shooting from Houston TV station KPRC.
I am not in the shoes of the police officers involved in the incident. There should be a proper investigation. There are times in life when we call police officers and they are helpful.
At the same time, this case should be out there and not forgotten. Police officers can kill a person and get away with it even if what they have done is wrong.
It does seem possible that a double amputee in a wheelchair waving a pen could be have been dealt with in a manner other than shooting him.
Mr. Claunch could not have been tasered?
The Associated Press story about the incident says that the officer who shot Mr. Claunch had in 2009 shot and killed a person who had stabbed someone and who would not put down his knife.
It would be interesting to know what mental health assistance the Houston Police Department offered the officer after that shooting. It would also be interesting to know the quality of the facility where Mr. Claunch was staying.
A follow up story from the Chronicle disccuses concerns from some in Houston about how Houston Police deal with citizens who may be mentally ill.
From the Chronicle—
“Advocates are calling for better training and more discipline after a Houston police officer fatally shot a mentally ill double-amputee in a wheelchair on Saturday, the third unarmed person police have shot in less than three months.”
The people of Houston should ask that a complete and fair investigation take place, and that the findings of such an investigation be acted upon in a way that reflects the facts of the shooting.