Monday, June 6, 2011

Because No One Died, A Crime Goes Unheralded in Houston

Last Friday evening, a Houston Police Department officer, on his way home from duty at about 6 o’clock, was hit by a 19-year old gang member who was speeding through a residential area in the northern suburb of Kingwood, traveling an estimated 70 mph when he struck the officer’s personal vehicle. The young gang member had run a stop sign when his car struck the officer’s truck on the driver side. The force of impact ejected the officer from his vehicle and he suffered severe, life threatening head trauma, including many deep gashes and nearly losing his right ear.

Here are the basic facts. The gang member, with his girlfriend as a passenger, was fleeing a domestic disturbance at his parents' home in the area. It is alleged and very likely that he was high on one or more drugs when the event took place. Controlled substances were found in his vehicle. (This even after his mother tried to clean the car of drugs before authorities got to the scene, as neighbors witnessed) This is a residential area called Sherwood Trails that I know well, and children playing and mothers walking their children in the streets are extremely common. He could have done far worse than injuring an off-duty police officer- he could have killed a family with young children driving in a minivan, or a ten-year old chasing a basketball into the street, or a mother walking an infant in a stroller.

But Houston news outlets don’t think that a drugged-up gang member nearly killing a police officer is newsworthy enough to report. Outside of passersby reporting the incident on local blogs, there is little to no coverage of the event. And any coverage I’ve seen has depicted the event as an accident rather than a crime.

I would disagree with them, however. You see, that officer is my younger brother.

Officer Gordon Sullivan was tended to by the finest doctors and surgeons in the world at Memorial Hermann Hospital, and I and my family feel incredibly blessed that my brother survived a situation that ninety-nine times of a hundred he probably would not have. We feel it to be nothing short of Providence. But what bothers me is that the young man who hit him is enjoying the anonymity of his crime.

Had he killed my brother or killed a child or pedestrian, the very possible outcomes of his actions, the news would report the incident as a crime, resulting in the appropriate public outrage for the travesty, and justice would be demanded. Instead, this crime is unheralded as just another traffic accident, and the young man may receive nothing more than a possession charge, traffic ticket, and perhaps a DUI. Effectively, the same result as if he’d been pulled over; not reflecting the fact that he nearly killed my brother because of his reckless choices.

Not just the media is treating this as “just an accident.” Most aggravating and unbelievable, a female Kingwood-based HPD officer who watched over the young gangbanger at the hospital during the night came to visit my brother the next morning as he recovered. Her first words to my brother as he lay recovering from the plastic surgery that took place was, “Bet you wear your seat belt next time, huh?” Yes, he should have worn his seat belt by law, but in retrospect I’m glad he did not. Over the course of the night, I heard varying opinions of the over 30 cops and firefighters who came to bring my brother good wishes, and many of them recounted stories of similar accidents where the driver was wearing a seatbelt and the force of impact upon a static occupant left the driver with a broken neck or contorted the body so much that it caused tears in the heart. Given that my brother’s injuries were preferable to another possible outcome, I am infuriated at this woman’s audacity to chide my brother in his condition.

My brother works the Fifth Ward, Acreage Homes, Alief; some of the most dangerous beats in not just the Houston area, but in the country. He does not ride a desk in the upper-middle class suburb of Kingwood like this woman. He explained to her that when on patrol, he often doesn’t wear a belt because he needs to be able to quickly exit his vehicle to chase suspects, and sometimes he does forget to wear it. Of course, the “desk” officer had missed the point entirely, as his wearing a belt is not the issue. If a drugged-up gangbanger hadn’t been driving 70 in a 30, run a stop sign and plowed into his truck, he wouldn’t be in the hospital at all.

She then explained that she had told the young gangbanger to not feel so bad about what happened. She apparently shares the local news outlets’ opinion: since my brother didn’t die, it was just another accident. It’s hard to think of a comment more devoid of common sense, though. By her logic, a drunk driver hitting a car or a crack-head stabbing a passerby would be an “accident” since neither could control his actions in an inebriated state. She completely overlooks the conscious decision it takes to imbibe the drugs that cause the lack of control to begin with.

Cops who work the area explained to me that they knew very well who this young gang member was. For over three years, one officer described, he had known the kid was doing bad things and was going to hurt someone. Well, now he has. But now that his drug use and disrespect for the rules of decent society have caused him to almost kill my brother, what will happen to him?

I don’t want this event to slip under the radar of public awareness. I don’t want his crime to live in anonymity so that it makes it easier to for him to escape justice for what he has done, allowing him to be free to sooner do it again. He almost killed my brother, and scarred him for life. Officer Gordon Mitchell Sullivan is a former soldier of the 82nd Airborne Division. A decorated veteran who survived two tours in the Iraq War. A devoted officer who bravely works to keep the peace in the city of Houston. A beloved son, brother, uncle, and friend of many whose humor, kindness, and generosity is well-known and cherished by all who know him. A honorable, good man whose life was almost extinguished by a drugged up, vile gangbanger who, by the grace of God, was not able to cause as much damage as he could have because my brother happened to cross his path on the way home. And also by the grace of God, my son, who is named after my brother, will continue to grow up and know his uncle.

It is in our best interest that the public is made aware of this crime, and that we invest effort to see that this young man receives the penalty he deserves. To any who may read this, I ask that you help by relaying the story through any available channels.

Thank you.

William Sullivan

Update: Yourhoustonnews.com has issued an update today. This update suggests that the gang member is 20, did not appear under the influence, and that the injuries were "non-life threatening." Given the other facts of the case (involved in domestic disturbance, driving with extreme recklessness, and found to be in possession of crack, not exactly a gateway drug) it takes a stretch of the imagination to believe that he was clean and sober. I will update as needed, and hopefully the investigation, which is ongoing at this point, reveals the truth so a proper punishment can be considered.

24 comments:

  1. Very well written. I had not heard of the Officer's comments to Gordon. The words that come to mind to describe her demeanor are less than elegant. Without knowing what this man has sacrificed for his country during his tours in Iraq, or that he works neighborhoods that she would most likely be afraid to walk through, even being an officer; she has the audacity to make that statement. Thank God, that Gordon is recovering well from these injuries and nothing more severe. But it should not take a death for a criminal, which this gang-banger indeed is, to receive a punishment that fits the crime.

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  2. I salute you William for using your voice in a dignifed way to bring juatice to light. Many prayers and blessings upin your brother.

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  3. Well written. I can't believe that female officer would make such a comment. I'm sure the toughest decision she has to make each day is deciding where to get her daily donuts and kolaches, in addition to, where to eat for lunch and dinner!

    David Sullivan

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  4. I am very sorry you and you're family are having to go through this!!! My dad was a officer for most of my child hood and I can understand how you feel and he servered as a marine as well. I pray that God will comfort y'all through this and in time the boy and his family will be brought to justice!!! Not saying the kid doesn't deserve the time but just pray this was the kids wakeup call as well!!!!! Praying praying praying for y'all!

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  5. Dumb woman cop. The Media seriously is &^%$# up. Known your family for a long time. All good people.

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  6. John Wesley Darsey IVJune 7, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    William,
    I graduated with your brother and even work out with him at the gym. We used to talk about how things like this would happen around him everyday; I never thought it would happen to him. I will keep you, Gordon and the rest of your family in my prayers.

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  7. I went to school with Gordon, this is so sad. And to think that out of Iraq, Fifth Ward, etc, he gets nearly killed by a gang member in KINGWOOD! I ride my bike there all the time. It's alarming that such a SCUMBAG gangbanger isn't being punished to the full extent of the law. And to think, Kingwood used to be such a nice place. Prayers for Gordon and your family!

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  8. The 20 yr old offender was arrested today on an unrelated charge at his parents home a block from the accident scene. It was a failure to appear warrant for a previous controlled substance citation.
    No charges or arrest as of yet related to the collision on 03 June.

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  9. I live in Kingwood and have usually thought it to me a safe neighborhood. Just last Sunday I was reading the local Kingwood newspaper and they had said that there were many, many, burglaries in Kingwood in May. After reading this article, I completely agree that justice has not been served until this gangmember is punished for what he did to this HPD officer. I am outraged to hear about this. Prayers for Gordon and your family.

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  10. Gordon,

    I will be praying for you and your family. I wish you as speedy of a recovery as possible and hope you go 10-8 soon. May Saint Michael watch over yoy my fellow law enforcement brother.

    Sincerly,
    Jack Armstrong

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  11. Thank you for posting this, and I hope it helps to see justice done.

    I am sending positive energies his way and wishing Gordon a speedy recovery. He is a nice guy and does not deserve to be mistreated.

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  12. What the female officer thought to comment was pathetic and very unprofessional. Unfortunately, too many people are severely lacking in regards to mental and social skills. It is also extremely sad and frustrating that victims are not as well protected as are the perpetrators...convicted or otherwise. God bless you and your family.

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  13. Other more serious charges will come once blood results are back.

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  14. A friend has posted this blog and I hope the best for a brother in blue and a speedy recovery. My prayers are with him and your family as well. I deeply apologize for this female officer as it is a disgrace of what she said. If you could post her name, some of us would love to know who this person is. It's sad that we have bad officers but reality we do.


    God bless~~

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  15. Always remember there are 3 sides to every story. The female officer in my opinion is being written about from hear say, how about getting facts from her before bashing her and assuming her thoughts if she has to be written about at all. It is very sad that her "comments" are even a topic instead of just focusing on the true law that was broken, real punishment for that boy and the healing of the respected officer... My prayers and thoughts are with the officer.

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  16. Crazy, story. I know Gorden from school.....he is an outstanding person.

    So, SORRY to hear that this GANG MEMBER HAS MORE RIGHTS THAN someone who puts his life on the line to make our lives(people of the Houston area) a safer place.

    Next we'll be hearing the MEDIA reporting of what an injustice was done for the PUNK ArSe KID that did this! Or how he has rights to DRIVE LIKE A BAT OUT OF HELL; because traffic laws do not apply to THE IDIOTS OF SOCIETY!

    CAN SOMEONE RUN DOWN THIS GANG MEMBER(who lives at home w/mommy) PLEASE? Code of Hammurabi,: an eye for an eye! Perhaps we should stoop to this a-hole's level and someone will pat us on the back after we hit him or his mommy.

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  17. A Houston Police officer assigned to the HPD Crime Reduction Unit was hospitalized following an accident at the intersection of Foliage Green at Bassingham in Elm Grove Friday evening, June 3.

    According to HPD spokesman Victor Senties, 20-year-old Ethan Andrew McCann, of Kingwood, was traveling in a silver Chrysler 300 down Foliage Green at a high rate of speed and ran a stop sign at Bassingham, striking the off-duty officer's personal vehicle, a green Dodge pickup truck.

    "Everyone was transported to Menorial Hermann Hospital with non-life threatening injuries," Senties said. "Officers at the scene found crack cocaine in McCann's vehicle and he was charged with possession of a controlled substance."Senties said so far there was no indication that McCann was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident. The investigation, he said, is ongoing.

    Both McCann and the officer are expected to recover from their injuries.

    McCann pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge in May and was sentenced to three days in Harris County Jail. Court records also show a charge of possession of a controlled substance in January 2010, which was later dismissed.

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  18. To the person harping on the officer's words. I was there and I can tell you this blog is accurate. It is sad when someone who is supposed to be a part of the hpd family sympathizes with the criminal and makes inflammatory remarks at the injured party's bedside.

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  19. My prayers are with officer Sallivan nand his family, and let get off the female officer and concentrate on the more seious issue making sure justice is done and that driver of the other vehicle is prosecuted. And if Oficer Sallivann has a problem with what the officer said he should talk with her about instead allowing family memebers and friends to bash her. I truly hope that the other driver is punished and not allowed to drive again.

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  20. God Bless you Gordon and thank you for your unselfish service to our community! May God continue to watch over you!!

    William - Your words will not go unheard and in God's time - justice will be served. Thank you.

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  21. Thank you for the kind words all have spoken. I know Gordon appreciates the good will very much.

    And to any who may have a problem with what I have written in regards to the female officer- I ask that you bear in mind that the words I have cited were recounted to me from a firsthand source, and the criticism made is my own. Gordon did not "allow" me to do anything, and my words do not necessarily reflect his opinion, as I didn't seek his opinion prior to coming to my own conclusion based upon the conversation and context. I feel that Gordon was wronged by her shameful comments, particularly given his condition, and I think an apology from her is warranted. Gordon is not obligated to address anything. I am free to my opinion, and to the expression of it. Therefore, if any have a problem with what I have written, they are free to rebut the conclusion I have reached. For her to relate that the criminal "feels bad about it" and given that she made efforts to assuage his guilt is evidence that she too looks at the crime as an accident. Which is a viewpoint that I feel is wrong, and correcting that flawed viewpoint is the aim of my article above.

    That said, I agree, the more pressing issue is the prosecution of the criminal and a swift recovery.

    God bless, all.

    -William

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  22. It has nothing to do with the fact the officer was female, it is what she said. Anyone who said that is an idiot, and she is a disgrace to good female cops. She should probably go find another job if she really feels that way. The gangbanger should do some time and have his a** kicked every day in jail.

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  23. He ain't no gang banger he was my neighbor

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