(JOPLIN, Mo.) — A distraught father who was arrested during a spat with emergency medical workers who were attending to his suicidal daughter is still battling charges, as is his son, six months later.
Kevin Russell’s nightmare began on March 17 when his wife found their 16-year-old daughter, Brooke, unconscious with a single gunshot wound to her head in a park near the family’s Joplin, Mo., home. Russell spoke this week to ABC News’ Springfield, Mo., affiliate KSPR-TV about his experience.
“I remember saying, ‘Oh my God.’ I threw my phone down while I was on with 911 and I ran to her,” Russell told KSPR. “I checked for a pulse but didn’t feel a pulse and there was just a little mark. I really couldn’t tell, the back of her head … and I looked into her eyes, and her eyes were halfway open like she was sleeping with her eyes open.”
Russell said he knew it was imperative to get Brooke medical attention as fast as possible, and so along with his wife and son, they put her in the car and met up with an ambulance en route to the hospital.
When emergency medical technicians were wheeling Brooke away, Russell told KSPR an EMT worker turned to ask Russell what happened to his daughter as he saw 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,'” Russell said.
At that point, he said he saw his son, Brant, who had been pepper sprayed and forced to the ground by a police officer. Russell was sprayed too, and both men were taken to jail, where Russell said they were chained to a bench for three and a half hours until they were released.
That’s when they said they learned their beloved Brooke had died.
“I had been thinking, ‘They’re going to save her, everything always works out, she’s going to be OK,'” Russell said.
Lt. Matt Stewart, spokesman for the Joplin Police Department, told ABC News that an internal review of the incident was conducted and “did not turn up anything abnormal.”
“We understand they’re grieving over the loss of their daughter and we have empathy for them, but we cannot comment at this time, since it’s still an ongoing case,” he said. “We would ask that everybody reserve judgment until all the facts are able to come to light.”
Both men were charged with three misdemeanors each, including assault, disturbing the peace and obstruction, according to Joplin police records.
The incident report has not yet been made public. Prosecutors offered Russell a deal to plead guilty to assault and take anger management classes, but he told KSPR all he did on the worst day of his life was scream.
“I didn’t assault anybody, I didn’t threaten anybody, I didn’t obstruct justice,” he said. “If you Google our names you see our arrest record, and I want that to go away, that’s what I want.”
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