Police officers in Houston apparently panicked after they saw a wheelchair-bound man waving around a pen.
For the last 18 months of his life, Brian Claunch was living at the Healing Hands group home in Houston. Claunch had suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, KTRK-TV reported. He was resigned to a wheelchair after he got hit by a train years ago. He lost an arm and a leg in the accident.
On Saturday, Claunch asked for a cigarette and a soda but his caretaker refused to give him either, the Houston Chronicle reported. Claunch then became "agitated," so Healing Hands called the police. But that ended with Claunch getting fatally shot in the head.
In a statement to the Houston Press, a police spokesman blames Claunch: "As he yelled at the officers, he waved a shiny object in his hand in their direction. The suspect refused the officers' verbal commands to drop the object and advanced in a threatening manner toward one of the officers. As the suspect backed one of the officers into a corner, he attempted to stab the officer with the object. Officer Marin, fearing for his partner's life, and his own safety, discharged his duty weapon one time, striking the suspect." But that "shiny object" turned out to be a shiny, ball point pen. Officer Matthew Marin, a five-year HPD veteran, was the officer who delivered the fatal shot, the Chronicle reported. Marin also fatally shot a suspect in 2009.
Marin has been placed on administrative leave, and Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland announced that he asked the FBI to help investigate the shooting, the Associated Press reported. McClelland called the shooting "tragic" but asked the community today to "reserve judgment" until after the FBI's investigation is complete.