Distraught Man Slain |by Cop ‘Trained to Kill’

     HOUSTON (CN) — A suicidal man was only holding a bitless power drill, but a Texas sheriff’s officer shot him to death and then told his hysterical wife: “We are trained to kill,” the widow claims in a lawsuit against Harris County.
     Charles Marshall was at home on Father’s Day 2015 with his wife and son, a week after his discharge from a Houston hospital where he sought treatment for depression. But his demons returned, his widow and son say.
     Maite Marshall and Dylan Marshall sued the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and sheriff’s Sgt. Ben Russell on Tuesday in Federal Court.
     “Charles Marshall attempted suicide by inflicting bodily harm onto himself, by slicing his wrist with a razor,” his widow says.
     She called 911 and pleaded, “I need an ambulance. My husband sliced his wrist and I see blood … I am trying to stop the blood.”
     Officer Russell arrived before an ambulance, and Maite Marshall went downstairs from her apartment to meet him.
     “Maite Marshall informed Sergeant Ben Russell that her husband had an empty, cordless drill that contained no drill bit,” she says. They went upstairs together to the Marshalls’ apartment.
     Russell stood outside the apartment and spoke to Charles Marshall from several feet away with Maite Marshall standing between them.
     “Charles asked Sergeant Ben Russell ‘Are you going to kill me?’… Russell asked Charles Marshall to place the drill down … Russell fired his weapon and killed Charles Marshall without any provocation or any movement by Charles Marshall in the direction of Sergeant Ben Russell,” the lawsuit states. (Sections marked by ellipses merely repeat the phrase, “On or about June 21, 2015,”.)
     Maite Marshall says the bullet that killed her husband nearly hit her and she became hysterical, crying: “Why did you shoot him?”
     She says Russell’s answer was chilling and indicative of the Harris County Sheriff’s Department’s failure to train its officers how to deal with suicidal people.
     “Russell responded, ‘We are trained to kill,'” according to the complaint.
     Dylan Marshall had retreated to an apartment bathroom and came out to see his father die in his mother’s arms.
     The Marshalls seek punitive damages for wrongful death, excessive force, and negligence.
     In addition, they sued Russell for bystander negligence, claiming he did not call an ambulance or try to resuscitate Charles, but that he and another officer yelled and cursed at the Marshalls, he took Dylan’s cellphone and put mother and son in the back of a squad car.
     The Marshalls also seek Section 1983 municipal liability damages from Harris County.
     They claim the sheriff’s office tacitly condones use of deadly force against suicidal people by not training its officers how to respond to them.
     They are represented by Troy Pradia with Cox Pradia in Houston.

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