27 Sep 2013


Why a Joplin man was handcuffed to a bench when his daughter died


The Russell family's tragic story doesn't end with a suicide. Kevin Russell is charged with misdemeanor assault, disturbing the peace, and obstruction.

JOPLIN, Mo. -- After being handcuffed to a bench while his daughter died, a man is now fighting three criminal charges for the events that took place the night his 16-year-old daughter killed herself.

On March 17, Brooke Russell shot herself. When her family found her, her father thought she might still have a fighting chance, but Brooke died and now he's the one fighting.

What happens now?

"That's a question I've asked myself a lot," Kevin Russell said.

What happens now that his daughter is gone, now that his family of four, is a family of three?

"I do things just to pass the time until I don't feel bad anymore."

Russell says those things shouldn't include lawyers and courtrooms; those things only make him feel worse.

"If you Google our names you see our arrest record, and I want that to go away, that's what I want," he said.

Russell and his son, Brant, are charged with three misdemeanors each for assault, disturbing the peace, and obstruction. The family found Brooke in a park near their house, unconscious from a single gunshot wound to the head. They loaded her in their car and met an ambulance near the police department.

"To me, time was everything. I was going, 'Let's go, get her to the hospital, hurry up, hurry up,'" Russell remembered saying to the EMT.

He claims the situation escalated when he says the EMT turned away from Brooke to him to ask what had happened. He says, had the EMT been turned toward Brooke, he would have seen her fall off the gurney.

"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.' And right about that time a police officer ran up on the sidewalk and I saw Brant go down."

Brant, 19, had taken a shot of pepper spray to the face.

"I was on the pavement, I couldn't breathe and another officer put a knee in my back and told me to get up and he said if I didn't get up he was going to Tase me," Brant said.

Russell was sprayed too and both men were taken to the jail. They were handcuffed to a bench. Three and a half hours later, when they were finally released, Russell learned Brooke had died.

"I had been thinking, 'They're going to save her, everything always works out, she's going to be okay,'" Russell said between tears.

It's been six months and he says life without Brooke is agony; so is life as a criminal.

"I didn't assault anybody, I didn't threaten anybody, I didn't obstruct justice."

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