Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Unarmed, paralyzed and dead

Bryan Keith Carnes supposedly ran a red light in the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 17, 2012 in Willis, Texas. For those of y'all not familiar with the geography of the Houston area, Willis is about 40 miles north of Houston on Interstate 45.

For reasons we shall never know, Mr. Carnes decided not to stop. He continued driving south on I-45 toward Houston. As he approached The Woodlands (about 25 miles north of Houston), the camper on Mr. Carnes' truck raised and a wheelchair was hoisted on a boom and allowed to bounce on the freeway. Somewhere near Woodlands Parkway a spike strip was laid out. As soon as Mr. Carnes' truck hit the strip the tires blew out and he crashed into the barricade.

Mr. Carnes was then shot to death by a Montgomery County Sheriff's Deputy who fired three shots into the truck. The yet-unnamed officer claimed that Mr. Carnes told police to shoot him and that he reached under his seat as officers approached the truck.

Mr. Carnes was a father and a paraplegic. The wheelchair in the bed of the truck was his.

I'm sure the deputy who killed Mr. Carnes will claim that he thought Mr. Carnes was reaching for a weapon. But, strangely enough, the article makes no mention of whether any weapon was found in the truck. As there were no witnesses around, save law enforcement officers, we have no independent source to verify that Mr. Carnes told the officers to shoot him.

Mr. Carnes wasn't going anywhere. His truck couldn't be driven. He couldn't access his wheelchair. There was no need to shoot him. We know there wasn't a weapon (because you know damn well that if there were the police would have made one freaking big deal about it).

We don't know how fast Mr. Carnes was driving - but the police officers involved made no claim that it was a high speed chase (and, once again, you know damn well that if it had been a high speed chase the police would have made one freaking bid deal about it).

There was no need for the police to shoot and kill Bryan Carnes. But what you had were a bunch of armed officers with adrenaline coursing through their bodies. And the result is a dead father and a grieving family. Now where's the justice in that?


Anonymous said...

Maybe you should get the real facts on this before you open your big mouth. You werent there you dont know... the dash cam on the police car doesnt lie. I will be praying real hard that you dont ever need a reason to have to call the police because god forbid those adrenaline rushed cops might have to save you or your families life and the thing is is that they wouldnt hesitate to save someone. So whats the differnce if the officer is walking up to this man with his weapon drawn to arrest him and the man is yelling out i have a gun (hence the police camera in the car) that you obviously havent watched or listened to and he reaches under the seat ... once again after yelling i have a gun...Does that officer not have a right to save himself?? I mean honestly dude put yourself in other peoples shoes before u pass such foul judgement. That police officer that shot him is the most loving, kind hearted, will do anything for u kind of person. It was a bad situation with a very sad outcome all around. You need to find you a fact checker before you start talking crap about something you know nothing about.

BC said...

So you think the deputy should've waited til Mr. Carnes pulled out a weapon and shot at them? If Mr. Carnes did in fact say "shoot me, shoot me, I have a gun"(as quoted in the media) and then proceeded to reach for something not in view of the officer(s) they had every right to protect themselves. Anyone with any common sense at all would assume if you said "shoot me, shoot me, I have a gun" and then reach for something, you're more likely than not reaching for the gun. I think you are a fool if you believe you would do other than the deputy did in the same situation, and if you did differently you'd be lucky to not be the one being placed 6 feet under. Stop blaming cops for the job they do when suspects leave them no other choice.

Chango said...

Thank you so much for posting this. Finally someone sees what we (his friends and everyone who loved him) see. Excessive, unnecessary force and bad judgement by the police. This is, unfortunately not the first unarmed man shot and wont be the last. Policies have to change and people need to be held accountable. This was our friend, brother, father, grandfather and son that was taken away. Thank you for pointing out the injustice.

Paul B. Kennedy said...

The use of deadly force by the police should be the last step - not the first. If the official account of what happened is correct, the police had several options available to end the matter peacefully. But they chose not to do so; instead someone decided to shoot at an unarmed man.

This isn't the first time police have used deadly force when it wasn't warranted and you can rest assured it won't be the last.

Paul B. Kennedy said...

Mr. Anonymous,

It certainly takes a lot of moxie to call me out when you don't even have the integrity to identify yourself. This is the reason I cut off anonymous posters once before. If you can't stand behind your words, then your words aren't worth reading.

You haven't the least concern for the family of the man killed by the police.

The police mucked this thing up and mucked it up bad.

Paul B. Kennedy said...

Chango, you're very welcome. I am sorry for your loss.

There was no need for this matter to have escalated to the point that an officer pulled out a weapon and shot Mr. Carnes.

I'm sure what we will hear over the next few days is every possible justification for the use of deadly force in that situation. But the fact will remain that the police shot and killed an unarmed man for no good reason.

Julie said...

Aren't there trained people to talk people out of these situations?? Where were they?? Nothing happens in the Montgomery area so these cops have nothing better to do then pull people over for stupid crap!! Have u seen Willis TX at night or 1:00 am on a Tuesday its dead on the streets so who the fuck cares about a red light?? If this happened in Harris county they wouldn't have even cared.

Glorious Scents by Gloria said...

You are so right on this subject Mr. Paul Kennedy. My Daughter knew Bryan well and he was at our home for Thanksgiving one year. He was very pleasant to be around.He truly loved his sons and family and I don't believe that he wanted to die. I think there is more than what meets the eye in this situation. Murder by Cop!

concerned citizen said...

Mr. Attorney.
Doesn't the law mention something about reasonable suspicion? Or how about what any reasonably prudent person would do. I suppose you would wait to make sure the person had a weapon and risk getting shot and losing you're own family just so you don't accidentally shoot an unarmed man. This officer acted in self defense in reasonable suspicion the man had a weapon. Before we Monday morning quarter back this, why don't we wait for all the evidence. Mr Chango I'm truly sorry for your loss. Had anybody ever heard of suicide by cop? Your great guy and friend obviously had something on his mind. He ran from law enforcement. That automatically changes the pace of the traffic stop. What did he have to hide? What was he scared of? Where was he going? Why was he trying to release his wheel chair in front of police? I could go on and on.

Anonymous said...


chelle said...

Mr. Kennedy... I posted anonymous because the option is there. If u dont like it take it off. It is your site correct?? I dont care if u think what i say isnt worth reading... u obviously read it. I really do feel very bad for the family and friends of Bryan. But I also feel bad for the officers that shot him. Yes I said officers.. it wasnt just one that shot him but I guess you didnt know that did u? I guess u also didnt know that Bryan was yelling out you mother fuckers im going to kill you .. did u? Nooo like i said it isnt just about running a red light there is more invloved. Bryan was stopped at that red light ... blaired his music in his truck to get the officers attention and then ran through the light.. Bryan also stopped and waited in a parking lot for the officer to catch up with him then took off again and that is when the chase started up 45. Then Bryan decides to deploy his freakin wheelchair to the side of his vehicle to try try and hit to officers vehicle to run them off the road. Bryan could have hurt innocent bystanders on the freeway and killed them. If he did that or caused some accidents then would the officers be in the right for doing what they did? Its ok for Bryan to put others lives in danger but not ok for police to protect themselves?

ty BC for seeing a different point of view on this incident

Paul B. Kennedy said...

Mr. Concerned Citizen,

Reasonable suspicion is the burden of proof an officer has to show to impose on your right to be left alone by the state. Reasonable suspicion is little more than a hunch supported by a fact or two. Reasonable suspicion has nothing to do with an officer's use of deadly force.

Resorting to deadly force should be the LAST step an officer takes -- not the first.

Paul B. Kennedy said...


Cranking up the stereo and running a red light doesn't merit a bullet in the chest. On that I think we can agree.

The fact that more than one officer fired his weapon at Mr. Carnes reflects even worse on the officers involved in the killing.

The officers had it in their hand either to escalate or de-escalate the situation and those chose to escalate it.

chelle said...

you are good at picking and choosing which comments u want to focus upon. but it is what it is and things cant be changed. God is the only one that can judge. The police officers and Bryan know what really happened. And that is all that needs to be said. Take care and God Bless !!!

Julie said...

We should get to see the video and judge for ourselves!! We all know we cover our asses to save ourselves and that's what the cops will do in this situation!! I also wish the wheel chair would have flew off he would have wanted that!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with both sides here, and yet I can't wrap my head around the fact that these officers of the law, who are here to "protect" us, continue to seek the easy way out.

Anonymous said...

The man was paralyze from the chest down. There is no possible way he could bend down to reach for anything. This officers are train to stop violence not encourage it. At what point did this officer stop think like an office and started thinking like a man. If he did his job like he was supposed to he would of realize this was a disable man. It clearly reads on his plates and I’m sure if he ran his plates it would of also came up. To my understanding Mr. Carnes was shot in the chest, meaning Mr. Carnes was at a straight standing position visible to the officer to were by this time the office should of seen he had no gun. Yet he still chose to fire, not once but three times. People make mistakes every day. Mr. Carnes made his and as hard as it is for people to accept it the office made a mistake also. The difference is Mr. Carnes mistake could have been corrected and the officers mistake cant. Bottom line, the office cross the thin line between being a pissed off man that wasn’t going to be left looking like an ass and being a well train office.

Melissa Murphy said...

I am very upset that Anonymous has such a cold response. While yes Bryan broke the law and yes Bryan deserved to be detained the truth of the matter is that officers are to shoot to disable not shoot to kill. Bryan was trapped and couldnt have ran after the officers with a gun, and if he was reaching down wouldn't your first thought be a paralyzed man is reaching for his wheel chair controls or perhaps reaching to pick up his legs to turn? Nothing he did gave anyone permission to take his life. Officers are trained to shoot with precision are they not? Couldnt he have been shot in the shoulder? He was an amazing man..AMAZING... and he was in school to do amazing things, yes he made a choice that night as a result of his depression but once again DID NOT DESERVE TO DIE...Also, when ANYONE pulls such a reckless act and asks officers to kill them does that not scream SUICIDE BY COP? Does that not mark that there might be suicidal ideations? Are officers not taught of that? I am pretty sure they are. By the way I also find it interesting that one of the officers who was at the scene of his first accident that killed the other driver (an officer) was also present at this scene where excessive force was used. Also does this mean that every depressed person who makes a bad choice to run from the cops in an attempt at suicide is going to have thier request fufilled? Does this mean that if a 12 year old trying to act tough walks up to an officer and says "I have a gun what are you going to do about it?" is going to get shot. I have chosen to forgive the officers because I feel that real humans have to feel remorse so I am hoping they will learn from this but DO NOT JUSTIFY the SENSELESS KILLING of BRYAN! He was my friend, and colleague and would have never hurt anyone. He was always smiling, and joking, and great to be around. So how dare you play GOD and justify his death. Regardless of what anyone says Bryan is gone hopefully the ignorance will leave everyones system and can remember him and train to better handle the next situation like his. If you do have anything foul to say about Bryan or any human life I suggest to pray about it and keep it contained because many of us are grieving horribly still and will for a long time and it is disrespectful in time of mourning to try to turn this around to be anyones fault. I gained a guardian angel in Heave Tuesday but you sir or mam lost the oppurtunity to meet and know the best man in his situation I have ever met.

Rick said...

I just learned this A.M. of the passing of Bryan Carnes. I knew him in a business climate and always thought he was a very warm and friendly person and I liked him very much. I am truely saddened and broken hearted at his families loss. I pray Bryan is now at peace.
Now here is the other side of my story. I don't know the details of Bryan's sad demise but I have experienced through my youngest police officer son, now out of law enforcement, both sides of a similar story, where my son was forced to shoot and kill an older man, who came out of an apartment, carrying and pointing a handgun. It was judged to be "suicide by cop", my son was nobilled and cleared by the Grand Jury. The only difference I can discern is the appearance of the weapon in my son's case as opposed to the perceived presence of a weapon in Bryan's case.
Could my son have withheld fire and taken a chance that the man didn't intend to shoot him? I'm sure there are more than a few dead or severely injured police officers that could enlighten us on the success of that aaproach.
Sadly, there are no winners or losers in this scenario. Only Bryan knew what his intent was that sad night. Now a burden is placed on the shoulders of a police officer to cope with the actions he took, whether he is judged as having acted properly or improperly.
That one action my son took that night a number of years ago caused him to leave law enforcement forever but the memories of that night will be with him to his grave and though he rarely speaks of it, I know it still lurks in his thoughts and always will.
I pray for peace for the Carnes family as well as the police officer.