A one-legged man with a history of cocaine abuse collapsed and died Monday after a naked rampage in which he threw rocks and other objects at windows in an attempt to break into neighborhood houses. According to the Pensacola News-Journal, neighbors spotted Norbert A. Chabannes, 55, crawling naked across a yard around 5:00 p.m., bleeding from a wound sustained while attempting to break into a house.
Chabannes had just tried to break into the home of neighbor Collins Haines. When he was unsuccessful, he crawled across the street to the home of Irma Teal, where he threw a cinderblock at a window in an attempt to get inside.
A sheriff’s deputy arrived on the scene to fine Chabannes sweating and bleeding in Teal’s yard. As he tried to reason with Chabannes, the would-be burglar collapsed and became unresponsive. The deputy radioed for paramedics, but the EMS team was unable to resuscitate him.
Neighbors told the News-Journal that the shocking incident was not wholly unexpected. Chabannes lived alone in a house willed to him by relatives and had an arrest history involving cocaine possession and drug paraphernalia.
“To me, it’s just all been a matter of time,” said Teal, 62, to reporter Matt Foster. She said that she had been wary of Chabannes due to the vulnerability of members of her household.
“I’ve always worried because of (my mom’s) age and I have a paraplegic brother in the house as well. That’s always been our concern the last seven years,” she said.
“Officers responded very appropriately,” she continued. “The first responding officer called him by name because this has been an ongoing occurrence over the past seven years.”
Haines told the News-Journal that the deputy knew Chabannes by name. “He tried to calm him down and he just passed out. The deputy really wasn’t in a real struggle with him.”
Chabannes, said Haines, “was in bad shape.”
Rochelle Duke, Chabannes’ housekeeper, said that Chabannes became violent with her earlier in the day, gouging her eyes and slamming her head repeatedly into a wall before she was able to break free and escape.
A Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokesperson told the News-Journal that the incident is under investigation.
“They would investigate anytime a person died when involved in a deputy confrontation,” said Rhonda Ray of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.
[image of Norbert Chabannes via Escambia County Sheriff’s Office]