- Associated Press - Saturday, March 26, 2016

HOUSTON (AP) - Charges have been dropped against a former hospital patient who was shot during a fight with two off-duty Houston police officers who were hurt while struggling to subdue the man.

A grand jury earlier this month declined to indict Alan Pean on two counts of aggravated assault of a police officer, the Houston Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1LPuDDD ) reported Saturday. The Harris County district attorney’s office dropped a third charge of reckless driving the 26-year-old had faced.

On Aug. 26, Pean had driven himself to St. Joseph Medical Center to seek treatment for a mental health condition, and ran into other vehicles in the parking lot. He was treated in the emergency room and admitted overnight but was acting erratically the following day.

The two off-duty police officers who were providing security for the hospital were called to Pean’s room. A struggle took place, resulting in Pean being shocked with a stun gun and then shot in the chest. He survived and was discharged five days later.

At the time, police said Pean had injured Officer Oscar Ortega after hitting him in the head and when the stun gun deployed by Senior Officer Roggie Law had no effect, Ortega shot Pean. The incident occurred with the room’s door closed, and there were no witnesses.

A Houston police spokesman declined to comment but confirmed the two officers were not disciplined.

Pean’s family said it was happy that the charges were dropped but disappointed in the criminal justice system and the hospital.

“Alan’s shooting is a perfect case study in everything that’s wrong with our criminal justice system,” his brother, Christian Pean told the newspaper via email. “Our family’s tragedy also points to the deficiencies in the provision of mental health care services.”

He also denied claims by Houston police that his brother was combative against the officers.

The incident prompted debate over the use of armed guards in hospitals and whether clinical and security staff are adequately trained to deal with mentally ill patients who become unruly or combative.

A review of St. Joseph, Houston’s oldest hospital, after the shooting by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services found deficiencies that put patients in “immediate jeopardy,” including failure to ensure training and failure to ensure patients’ rights were protected.

The agency threatened to withhold reimbursement, an action that likely would have shut down the hospital. Hospital officials negotiated a corrective plan that allowed it to remain open.

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Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com

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