Amputee's death could have been avoided, advocates say - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Amputee's death could have been avoided, advocates say

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

The death of a 45-year-old double amputee has caused a firestorm in Houston.

A Houston Police officer shot and killed Brian Claunch, 45, at his group home because he thought the disabled man had a weapon.  That officer and his partner went to the group home after getting a 911 call from an employee there.

Disability rights advocates say that call should not have been made from a well-regulated home.

"The staff working at the home would have known how to handle the situation.  The incident wouldn't have taken place," said Maria Palacios with the Houston Center for Independent Living.

Palacios went before Houston City Council to ask for legislation, regulations governing local group homes.

"Right now, anybody can operate a facility," she said.

Councilman Ed Gonzales agreed.  He's holding community meetings to get the public's input on what regulations these personal care homes should follow.

"I think what we can learn from this experience, and see what we can keep doing better," Gonzales said.

Would rules, regulations and a group home database have made a difference in Claunch's death?  Ray Hunt, who represents more than 5,000 HPD officers, said HPD keeps a history in their database on group homes and service calls.  Hunt is not sure if any new identifiers, regulations or rules would have made a difference.

Harris County officials said personal care homes with four or less residents are not required to be licensed or monitored  Group homes with more than four residents are monitored by the state of Texas.

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