Alleged Tranquility Park shooter appears in court

December 16, 2011 2:33:09 PM PST
A man who allegedly fired a rifle in Tranquility Park last month made his first appearance in court Friday.

Investigators say Joshua Anthony Twohig, 21, waved a 40-caliber rifle during an Occupy Houston rally before putting the gun to his head.

Twohig's attorney says his client has a history of metal illness and last month in a downtown Houston park, his plan was to commit "suicide by cop." The state maintains he's dangerous, his bond should be raised and he should remain in custody.

Twohig was shackled, wearing an orange jumpsuit and leg brace as he limped into court. First looking over at his wife and then at his grandmother from Florida, Twohig stood silent before the judge as the prosecution recounted what happened last month in Tranquility Park.

Much of the incident was captured on cell phone video by an Occupy Houston protester camped out nearby. Twohig was dressed in a black suit and carrying a 40-caliber assault riffle. Prosecutors say an officer, who was flagged down by a protester, found the young father firing in the reflecting pond, then the state says he turned and pointed the gun at the officer.

That's when one officer shot him and prosecutors say he dropped his rifle, reached in his back waist band and was shot again. Prosecutors say when he reached for his rifle again, he was shot a third time.

Twohig's attorney says his client did not plan to come out of the park alive.

"There is a plethora of material that indicates that he was delusional, that he exhibited paranoia, that he had in the past heard voices; he was very definitely not a member of Occupy Houston. He was out there all by himself and quite frankly intended to commit suicide by cop," said George Parnham, Twohig's defense attorney.

Parnham said Twohig was on his medication at the time of the shooting. He has since undergone a mental health evaluation to see if he is competent enough to stand trial.

Bond has been raised to $100,000 at the request of prosecutors. Twohig remains in custody in a mental health facility.


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