J.J. Freeman is what’s known as a “peacekeeper” within the Occupy movement, a security guard of sorts who never expected to see a gunman in the park.
“It was one of the worst moments of my life to see that something like that was happening or about to happen. I was expecting the worst.”
Freeman says he ran toward the man with the gun, identified as 21-year-old Joshua Twohig, standing on a small bridge in Tranquility Park.
“I was probably at the farthest from him, four feet. I was holding my hands up, like, ‘hey, please don’t shoot my friends.’ What’s going on? What’s wrong? Then he shot at the fountain and he had the gun to his temple and I knew right then and there this man came here for a reason and he planned on not leaving this park alive.”
Twohig was then shot several times by officers on the scene. He’s currently in stable condition at Ben Taub hospital and has been charged with aggravated assault on a public servant.
Mayor Annise Parker says the suspect appears to have no connection to Occupy Houston.
“There is no evidence whatsoever that this man was in any way affiliated with Occupy Houston. I want to emphasize that. We continuously monitor the situation with Occupy Houston and we do have police officers on scene with Occupy Houston.”
Authorities say they don’t know why Twohig fired shots in the park. Two HPD officers were involved the shooting. As a matter of procedure, HPD’s homicide and internal affairs divisions are investigating the incident.