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Father's Armed Standoff With Doctors Over Comatose Son Takes Unexpected Turn

A young man who had been taken off life support was close to dying, but his father wasn't ready to let him go - so he walked into the hospital with a gun.

George Pickering III, a 27-year-old from Houston, TX, suffered a massive stroke in January and had been declared brain dead by doctors at the Tomball Regional Medical Center. After the tragic diagnosis, his mother and brother allowed doctors to induce a “terminal wean” that would eventually cause George III to die.

But his father, 59-year-old George Pickering II, didn't agree with that decision.

"I felt hopeless," George II told KPRC. “They were moving too fast. The hospital, the nurses, the doctors.”

That's when he walked into the hospital with a gun and threatened doctors and nurses if they took his son off of life support. Police were called and a stand-off ensued. George II admitted to KPRC that he had been drinking that day and was aggressive, but he also says he had his reasons.

"I knew if I had three or four hours that night that I would know whether George was brain dead," said George II. "At that point I had blinders on. All I knew I just needed to have this time with George.”

SWAT officers outside of the hospital room tried to coax the grieving father out of the hospital room. But he refused. And during the standoff, George III, who had been declared brain dead and ordered to be taken off of life support, squeezed his father's hand three times on command.

George II surrendered peacefully to police and George III eventually awoke from his coma. These days, George III is recuperating and thankful for his father's actions.

"It's the duty of a parent to protect your children and that's all he did," George III said. "Everything good that made me a man is because of that man sitting next to me."

George II did face criminal charges for two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. But one charge was dismissed and he was credited with time served for the other. He was released earlier this month.

"There was a law broken, but it was broken for all the right reasons. I'm here now because of it," George III told KPRC. "It was love, it was love."

"This case has always been about a father protecting his son, when his son couldn't protect himself," said attorney Phoebe Smith, George II's defense attorney. 

Source: KPRC/ Photo Credit: KPRC


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