Police shoot gunman threatening Occupy Houston protesters
An armed man, who witnesses say claimed to be “The White Knight” while threatening Occupy Houston protesters, was shot by police Monday.
On Tuesday, authorities charged 21-year-old Joshua Anthony Twohig with aggravated assault on a public servant, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Twohig was reportedly wearing a black suit and carrying a .40-caliber rifle when he walked through the Occupy Houston encampment in Tranquility Park at about 5:15 p.m. Monday.
Occupy Houston activists, who said that Twohig was not part of their movement, told KPRC that he claimed he was “The White Knight” and talked about police corruption. Several witnesses also said they were threatened by the gunman.
“‘Hey, man, don’t shoot at my friends,'” witness J.J. Freeman recalled telling Twohig. “Then he shot at me again. Then he shot at the wall of the fountain to show the cops he wasn’t playing.”
Joe Roche, who was also at the scene, said that he heard at least 15 shots fired.
After two bike officers ordered Twohig to drop the weapon, he refused and pointed the rifle at his own head.
“Shoot me! Shoot me!” he shouted, according to police.
One witness provided police with cell phone video of the incident.
“Both officers are seen taking cover and shouting commands to the suspect, who made hostile advances toward the officers before they discharged their weapons,” a Houston Police Department spokesman explained. “When struck the first time, the suspect went down to the ground. He then stood up again and reached to pick up his rifle before he was wounded again.”
Police added that Twohig was conscious when he was taken away in an ambulance to Ben Taub General Hospital. His wounds, including a gunshot to the ankle, required surgery but were not thought to be life threatening.
Neighbors told KHOU that Twohig had appeared troubled after recently losing his job.
They said he had been living in a Houston-area apartment complex with his wife and a one-year-old baby for about six months since moving to Texas from Virginia. West Virginia’s Marshall University has a “Joshua A. Twohig” on the Dean’s List for the 2011 spring semester.
Activists released a statement Monday saying that the man was “not a recognized participant in Occupy Houston, nor has he been determined to have any affiliation with any of its members.”
“At this time, Occupy Houston is not speculating on the motives of the gunman, but we extend our sympathies to the seemingly troubled young man who perpetrated (Monday’s) act of violence,” the statement continued. “We are thankful that no one other than the assailant was injured, and we extend our gratitude to the officers on scene who reacted quickly and with the appropriate amount of force as dictated by the situation.”
Watch this video from KTRK, KPRC and KHOU, broadcast Sept. 21, 2011.