Nurses disarm man who broke into Sharpstown-area retirement home with unloaded gun, police say

Shannon Ryan Image
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Nurses disarm gunman who broke into Sharpstown-area retirement home
Dean Anthony Williams was arrested after allegedly breaking into the Clarewood Home, a senior community, with an unloaded gun.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A man with an unloaded gun broke into a Sharpstown assisted living and extended care facility early Friday morning. Employees want to know how he was able to gain access to the facility and why security was not notified - leaving them to disarm him verbally. They also have questions about the silence from management that followed.

Diana Paul, a certified nursing assistant at the Clarewood House, told ABC13 the man, who police identified as Dean Anthony Williams, entered the facility at about 1:40 a.m.

Employees did not know the gun was unloaded until Williams was arrested.

Patrick Pheifer, executive director of the facility, said Williams jumped a fence and then entered through a door. Paul said the open door triggered an alarm at the nurses' station. She added that it should have triggered an alarm for security as well, but it did not. On Tuesday, it remained unclear as to why.

Williams attempted to enter two rooms before dropping to the floor next to Paul.

"I can't move. This guy (Williams), he's like, 'They're coming after me. They're coming after me,' and then he keeps putting his hands up," Paul said.

Paul said she worked to keep Williams calm and ensure him he was safe. She repeatedly asked him if anyone else had followed him into the building, but he did not respond. Eventually, he took a gun out of his clothing and placed it inside a cabinet.

He began pacing and hid in another room, giving Paul an opportunity to call 911. Her phone was synced to her earbuds and iPad - initially playing the call out loud. She said he became increasingly anxious and told her not to look at him.

Still, Paul was able to give a dispatcher her location.

"There's a gunman in here. We have residents in here. We have staff in here. There are so many people in here," Paul said.

She told ABC13 that police arrived and arrested Williams as he began approaching residents' rooms and hovering in their doorways.

"I'm like, 'Sir, don't go in there. There's nothing in there for you. Just stay out here with us. You're safer over here with us,'" she explained.

On Tuesday, she remained afraid to return to work. Pheifer called her for the first time during her ABC13 interview. He asked who she had spoken to about the incident.

Earlier in the day, he shouted at ABC13 over the phone, repeatedly asking who the reporter was receiving their information from.

"I don't know if I'll have a job after this interview, but it is what it is," Paul said. "It's about integrity, and it's about keeping your employees safe."

ABC13 asked Pheifer if residents' families were notified of the incident. He did not answer the question when asked several times, then hung up.

"While proximity to a firearm understandably arouses fear, Clarewood House's residents were not in danger. He did not enter any resident's rooms," Pheifer said in part of a statement.

"Whatever they have to do protect themselves, they're going to do, and they're gonna sweep it under the rug, and if nobody finds out, nobody will ever find out," an employee who asked to remain anonymous told ABC13.

Houston police charged Williams with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He was previously convicted of an unrelated burglary.

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