Distraught family members were pepper-sprayed, chained to a bench while daughter was dying of self-inflicted gunshot woundPolice State USA
Sep. 30, 2013
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JOPLIN, MO — A tragic situation went from awful to worse as two family members were arrested by police in the process of trying to save a teen girl’s life after a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A father tells of how he missed the final hours of his daughter’s life because he was handcuffed to a bench in a police station, his face still raw from being pepper-sprayed. Now he and his son face criminal charges that have not been dropped, six months later.
On the evening of March 17th, the Russell family made the gut-wrenching discovery that their beloved Brooke, age 16, had shot herself in the head in a suicide attempt behind their Joplin home. Brooke did not immediately die from her wound, and her parents, Julissa and Kevin Russell, along with their son, Brant, desperately rushed her to seek medical care in an attempt to save her life.
As they drove speeding to the hospital, they dialed 9-1-1. The dispatcher told them to instead go to the police station, where an ambulance would meet them and begin caring for Brooke. They followed the advice and raced to the police station.
They arrived and were met with police and an ambulance waiting in the parking lot. The family was frantic. There was no time to lose. They began transferring Brooke to the ambulance.
“To me, time was everything. I was going, ‘Let’s go, get her to the hospital, hurry up, hurry up,’” father Kevin Russell remembered saying to the EMT, according to KSPR.
The situation took a turn for the worse when an EMT let Brooke’s body fall off the gurney, in the rush to save her. Her father says this happened when the EMT turned away to ask what had happened.
Overcome with emotion, Kevin lost his cool. “I started screaming and said, ‘Do your f-ing job, get her to the hospital,’ and the EMT put his finger in my face and said, ‘Calm down, sir.’ I was screaming, ‘”‘Please get her to the hospital.’ “ Kevin continued, “And right about that time a police officer ran up on the sidewalk and I saw Brant go down.”