HOUSTON (CN) - Texas lawmen put a suicidal teenager in the back of a squad car without searching him and he shot himself in the head, his father claims in court.
The shot didn't kill Deavyn Gordon, but it did major damage. He has trouble speaking and moving the right side of his body, his father Lynn Gordon claims in the lawsuit.
Lynn Gordon sued Harris County, Constable Ken Jones, and four deputies on Wednesday in Federal Court, seeking punitive damages and medical expenses.
Constable Jones heads up Precinct 3 in northeast Harris County.
"During fall of 2012, plaintiff Deavyn Gordon was a 17-year-old student of North Shore Senior High School in Harris County. He had a mental disability, depression with bipolar disorder," the complaint states.
Earlier that year, Lynn Gordon says, Deavyn had tried to kill himself at school.
Deavyn went to the high school with a gun on Dec. 5, 2012 and a student alerted a teacher that Deavyn planned to hurt himself, Lynn Gordon says.
"The teacher and student contacted defendant Deputy Jeffrey Gonzales, who was serving as security at the school, and told Deputy Gonzales of the threat," the complaint states.
Three other deputy constables arrived to help Gonzales search the school for Deavyn. Gonzales found Deavyn in a bathroom, handcuffed him and "determined the young man needed mental health treatment" because of his strange actions, according to the lawsuit.
Deavyn struggled against the deputies and reached for his gun tucked in his waistband, and Gonzales wrestled him to the ground, Lynn Gordon.
"Shockingly, neither Deputy Gonzales nor any other defendant searched Deavyn Gordon or attempted to remove the gun from his possession," the lawsuit states.
In fact, Lynn Gordon says, the deputies had a practice of not searching student detainees, despite a Harris County policy that called for a search of all detainees.
The deputies carried Deavyn outside and put him in the back of a waiting squad car. "Defendant Deputy Kenneth Jones then boarded the patrol vehicle and drove a short distance with Deavyn Gordon in the back of the vehicle," the complaint states.
"As Deputy Jones was driving, Mr. Gordon retrieved the gun and shot himself.
"The bullet entered Deavyn Gordon's skull and caused severe traumatic injury to his brain and nervous system generally. He continues to suffer permanent, serious, and debilitating injuries as a result of this incident, including difficulty speaking, moving the right side of his body, and learning."
Lynn Gordon seeks punitive damages for civil rights violations. He also wants defendants ordered to revise their policies for handling people with mental health issues.
Gordon is represented by Sam Mukerji with Nielsen and Mukerji.
Capt. Jon Moore, of the Harris County Constable's Office Precinct 3, declined to comment.
"I cannot comment because it's currently in litigation," Moore said.
There are eight constable precincts in the county, which covers 1,778 square miles.
In addition to their traditional law enforcement duties, constables and their deputies serve legal papers. Bailiffs in county courtrooms are deputy constables.
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