Moral Low Ground


Houston Cop Kills Brian Claunch, Unarmed Double Amputee in Wheelchair

A Houston, Texas police officer shot and killed an unarmed double amputee in a wheelchair because he believed that a pen the victim was carrying was something more dangerous.

The Associated Press reports that Officer Matthew Jacob Marin, a five-year veteran of the force, shot and killed Brian Claunch, a man in his 40s who had only one arm and one leg and was confined to a wheelchair, on Saturday inside a group home after Claunch allegedly cornered him and aggressively waved a pen at him. Police had been called to the scene because Claunch was allegedly causing a disturbance.

Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva told the AP that Claunch threatened Officer Marin while attempting to stab him with the pen. Marin believed the pen was something more dangerous, Silva said, adding that he came “within inches to a foot” of the officer and ignored commands to calm down and stay still.

“Fearing for his partner’s safety and his own safety, he discharged his weapon,” Silva told the AP.

John Garcia, owner of the group home where the deadly shooting occurred, told the Houston Chronicle that Claunch, who had been living in the home for around 18 months, had a history of mental illness.

“He sometimes would go off a bit, but you just ignore it,” Garcia said.

Officer Marin has been placed on three-day administrative leave, standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.

This was not the first time Marin fatally shot someone. In 2009, he shot and killed a man who was in the process of stabbing his neighbor to death.

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