Charges filed against gunman who opened fire near Occupy Houston camp

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by Courtney Zubowski / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on November 22, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 22 at 7:54 PM

HOUSTON -- Charges have been filed against a 21-year-old gunman who was wounded by Houston police near the Occupy Houston camp Monday afternoon.

Joshua Anthony Twohig is charged with aggravated assault against a public servant.

Police said Twohig, dressed in a business suit and armed with an assault rifle, walked into Tranquility Park in downtown Houston around 5:10 p.m. Monday and started shooting into the air and a nearby fountain.

Bicycle officers were flagged down by concerned citizens.

"We heard the gunshots and they thought they were false shots. I figured we don’t need somebody at Occupy doing that and giving us a bad name," said JJ Freeman, who was with the officers when Twohig entered the park from the corner of Bagby and Rusk.

When the officers entered the park, they spotted Twohig standing on a bridge near the park’s fountains and pond.

As the officers approached Twohig, they said he took cover behind a 4-foot concrete wall.

According to HPD, the officers told Twohig to drop his weapon, but he refused, instead shooting once into the pond and then pointing the gun to his head.

Police said Twohig began screaming, "Shoot me! Shoot me!"

About that time, police said a witness started recording the incident on a cell phone camera.

The video shows the suspect standing on the bridge with the gun to his head and the officers taking cover and shouting at him to drop his weapon.

When Twohig made hostile advances toward the officers, they opened fire.

"The cops started shooting because he started shooting," said Amy Tepper, a witness.

The video shows Twohig falling to the ground, but then getting up again and reaching for his rifle.

At that point, the officers fired again, and Twohig went back down.

Moments later, U.S. Deputy Marshals arrived and helped take Twohig into custody.

He was rushed to Ben Taub, where he remained in stable condition Tuesday with non-life-threatening injuries.

Twohig’s neighbors said they were surprised by what happened, but that Twohig had been troubled lately.

"Josh was always sweet. He was always sweet to me," said his neighbor, Vastie, who only wanted to be identified by her first name.

Vastie said Twohig had recently lost his job and was depressed.

Neighbors said Twohig had lived in their apartment complex with his wife and 1-year-old baby for about six months, and before that, he moved to Houston from Virginia.

They said Twohig’s wife was recovering from surgery, and the couple had been worried about money.

Some of the neighbors even said they saw Twohig leave his apartment in a suit on Monday with a rifle, but they assumed he just had a job interview and was going to pawn the gun for cash.

"When he left here yesterday he was nicely dressed, he had a nice shirt on and a vest so I thought he was going on a job interview," said Vastie.

As is customary in an officer-involved shooting, the case is being investigated by HPD Homicide and Internal Affairs, as well as the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

 

 

 

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