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Officer Offs Pen-Wielding Double Amputee
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Most officers don’t feel good about killing a civilian. It’s even worse when that civilian is a double amputee with only one arm, one leg, is bound to a wheelchair, and is unarmed. But in the heat of the moment, Saturday, an officer acted on his instincts. In Houston, five-year veteran Mathew Marin shot Brian Claunch and killed him. Claunch had been living at a group home for 18-months, had a history of mental illness, and had led police to be called in for causing a disturbance at the home.

“He sometimes would go off a bit, but you just ignore it,” said the group home owner, John Garcia. The man had lost his limbs when he was hit by a train. He nevertheless managed to intimidate the officer after cornering him and waving around a silver object, which later turned out to be a pen. The man had come “within inches to a foot” of the officer and refused to calm down, explained police spokeswoman Jodi Silva.

Marin has been given a three day suspension to desk duty, as is standard for all officers in a shooting, but the head of the local police violence group, Civilians Down, Arlene Kelly wonders how dangerous a suspect is who has only one arm and one leg. The answer, of course, is that if the man is psychotic, agitated, or raging, he is potentially very dangerous.

  
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This wasn’t Marin’s first kill on the job. He fatally shot a man in 2009 who was stabbing his neighbor to death and refused to drop the knife.



 

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