Bizarro World: Houston Police Shoot, Kill Double Amputee In Wheelchair For Threatening With A Pen!

This is crazy. So Houston police respond to a call of a schizophrenic double amputee at a group home for the mentally ill acting up due to being denied a soda and a cigarette (???), said schizophrenic amputee threatens to stab the officers with a pen, somehow manages to “trap” one of the officers in the corner of the room with his wheelchair (???) so the other officer shoots and kills the guy.

I mean…really? Good Lord, Texas.

Surely one or more of the police officers there (since there was more than one cop there) could’ve managed to take away the pen.


From the linked article.

So to the(shooting) officer, it was not immediately apparent it was not a knife, ice pick or other stabbing weapon.

ETA: Tactical pens

I saw that, but still. C’mon. How about a Taser?

A pen could easily be mistaken for a pencil. Cop avoided lead poisoning via lead poisoning.

Yeah, graphite. But hey.

I guess I think that threatening a cop with something and cornering him is probably more akin to suicide by cop. I also think that even though I didn’t really want to move to Texas, since I have I have gotten extremely tired of Texas bashing. Just as I got tired of California bashing when I lived there. Maybe that was a joke?

The article said he trapped the officer in a corner. It’s possible that his back was fully to the other officer and the wheelchair blocked a Taser shot to the torso and the only target would be the head(which could be in motion during the struggle). I have no idea what would happen if you Taser a head.

Bet the cop’s lawyer uses the old “pen is mightier than the sword” defense.

What would a taser do to someone sitting in a metal wheelchair? Or someone touching the wheelchair because they were trapped behind it? (That’s not a gotcha, I really don’t know.)

I can say as I’m horribly outraged. Schizophrenic bipolar double amputee with history of violence against his caretakers holding a stabby thing (pens go through the windpipe with alarming ease) and making threats because someone didn’t give him a cigarette? Yeah…that’s a pretty dangerous situation. I’m sorry someone had to die, but having no legs doesn’t make someone a safe, sane or nice person.

How in the world does a presumably healthy police officer on two legs allow himself to get trapped in a corner by a guy in a wheelchair in the first place? And as far as the Taser goes, it was the other officer that would have deployed it (the one that ended up shooting and killing the mentally ill patient), not the dumbass trapped guy.

Sounds like a lack of training and underestimating the situation, then overreacting on the part of the police. I know it was indoors, perhaps pepper spray wasn’t an option either.

Interesting question raised upthread about tasering someone in a metal wheelchair. Perhaps that can be raised in GQ!

People in wheelchairs are not nearly as passive and helpless as you seem to think. It’s incredibly easy for an aggressive, angry, threatening person to entrap someone simply by moving at them quickly in a 50 pound hunk of metal on wheels.

Seriously, stop infantalizing people in wheelchairs. They’re people, just like you and me. Most of them are nice. Some of them are assholes, or mentally ill, or dangerous, or all three.

Thankfully most people have never had to make a life or death decision in an instant.


I’m a fairly conservative, tend-to-vote-republican kind of guy, & I’m wondering why the cop didn’t just grab the wheelchair handles & roll the the assailant back.

I’m not infantalizing everyone in a wheelchair. But this guy was a double amputee. And as far as the life or death decision thing goes, well, I’m not trivializing that either. It just seems so crazy to me how this apparently played out. How the officer got trapped…surely they were on high alert for a deranged suspect due to the nature of the call for help? And not being able to identify a pen? Look, I get it: split second decisions are rough, especially when the life of a person is involved.

Couldn’t he have just shot him in the leg?

The guy did still have a leg, it’s not like he couldn’t get leverage at all.

Wow. A pen. That one-ups the RCMP, who, generally, use Tasers to kill foreigners wielding semi-automatic staplers.

And move himself into the area of danger from being stabbed, as well as his partner? Brilliant.

I’m a very liberal, tend-to-vote-you-call-this-left-wing?! kind of gal who works in healthcare, but I’ve also tripped over more wheelchairs than I care to admit. Those things are heavy, difficult to move in anything other than a straight line, and an experienced wheelchair occupant is not remotely at my mercy if he wants to go one way and I want him to go another.

So? How does that make him any less dangerous? He apparently still has at least one arm that can wield a pointy stabby thing. Did you read further down in the article where it describes how this guy has basically terrorized the other residents and caretakers at his group home, more than once? This was not a helpless man.

Y’know, I realize they’re using the “we didn’t know it was a pen” defense. I think that’s a mistake. I think they should be using the “do you know what sort of damage a pen can do?” defense.

Look, would I support efforts to expand the training program the police department has for officers dealing with mental patients? Absolutely. Do I think it would erradicate the problem? No. Would it have prevented this particular death? I have no idea, and neither do you. But the problem here was the *behavior *and *mental *state of the guy who put a police officer in danger, not how many arms and legs he has.

You’re like the guy ranting about a rude, clueless person at the store who harps on her being fat and ugly. Complain about rude and clueless, or, in this case, mentally imbalanced and possibly not enough training to deal with that. The amputations and wheelchair are irrelevant, except that you want to make it sound like the police couldn’t possibly have been in danger.

What? I didn’t quite say that, nor would I ever call an obese person (why did you pick a girl?) fat or ugly when they were being rude or a jerk. And in case you didn’t notice, I wasn’t really ranting, per se. I’m more surprised at the crazy (natch) nature of this situation and how it all went down. Maybe facilities like (or the cops?) this need to keep some type of a tranquilizer gun handy that they can pop a drugged up dart into someone that loses their shit like this guy apparently did, though apparently through no fault of his own.

And lets be fair: a man with only one arm and one leg in a wheelchair is generally at a disadvantage in a confrontation with a healthy, whole adult male. I really suspect that the police underestimated their foe and were caught off guard, then responded with deadly force.

Wheelchair bound man foils robbery.

Never underestimate the power that comes from making arms do the legs job.

Also, he(the shooting victim) might have been in a powerchair which would make it easy to pin the cop. Even with a manual chair, working that thing with one arm is a real bitch.