Wheelchair-bound man shot by police officer


by KHOU.com Staff and Andrew Horansky


Posted on September 23, 2012 at 2:01 PM

HOUSTON—A police officer shot and killed a wheelchair-bound double amputee during a confrontation Saturday morning, according to authorities.

The incident took place in a group home for the mentally ill where patients are placed there for 24-hour supervision after being released from hospitals.

Around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, police responded to the house on Polk near Sidney where they say a man had become irate with an employee who reportedly called 911.

"Two minutes after the cops enter the house there was a single gunshot," said neighbor Randal Kingery. "We immediately thought it was a suicide."

The man, Brian Claunch, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, was swinging an object that was later identified as a silver pen.

Police say that Claunch cornered one of the officers and ignored orders, so the officer’s partner shot and killed him.

"He got agitated in the middle of the night, he started to get a little bit violent. The person who stayed with him called police, called 911" said house manager Juan Garcia said. "He had a temper. He could fly off once in a while. I don’t want to say he did anything or they did anything."

Kingery said the police should have known what they were dealing with. He said he saw them there a month ago, and that it was no secret the residents had special needs.

"For the cops to go in there with guns drawn, it’s ridiculous," he said.

Garcia said he does not know if the lights were on or off when they entered; something that may have affected their decision to shoot.