Family of suspect shot in officer-involved shooting says he had previous brain injury

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 6, 2015) – Brandon Gregg’s family agrees the eastside man had a number of illegal reasons to carry a gun and run from police, but wonder if a brain injury suffered on the job last year played a role in his shooting August 29 by IMPD.

“In December he was hurt at work and he has a traumatic brain injury,” said Tameca Wright, Gregg’s sister.

“He lost his memory, it knocked him out, he was unconscious for a little while,” said Gregg’s mother LaVonda Staples. “It’s hard for him to differentiate the good decisions from the bad decisions.”

Gregg’s family admits the convicted felon was making a bad decision, while drunk, early on a Saturday morning when an IMPD officer spotted his car weaving eastbound on 10th Street at Emerson Avenue.

“He was worried about his life being a felon, a convicted felon,” said Wright. “Being racially profiled. Just everything going on…he didn’t want to stop anywhere. He was on the phone saying this.”

Gregg called his girlfriend to say he was driving to a well-lit gas station at 10th Street and Shadeland Avenue to surrender, but he knew he was going to jail.

After Gregg finally pulled over, he refused to leave his car, was pepper sprayed, knocked down and injured an officer and ran toward a dark alley with a gun his hand, according to a Probable Cause Affidavit filed by the Marion County Prosecutor.

Police fired and Gregg was wounded in the legs and taken to Eskanazi Hospital where he was treated an eventually released to the Marion County Jail.

He’s charged with driving while intoxicated, battery and resisting, carrying a handgun without a license and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

This past week IMPD officers underwent a 40-hour long Critical Intervention Team training on dealing with people struggling with mental illness or traumatic brain injury.

That definition of challenge affects 40% of the 2100+ offenders incarcerated in Marion County making the jail the largest mental health care facility in Indianapolis.

Sonny Ourai retired as a staff sergeant from the U.S. Army after two overseas tours, one in Iraq, another in Afghanistan, where he estimates more than a dozen times his convoys were hit by improvised explosive devices that rocked his world.

“You can’t do the stuff you want to do and like to do,” said Ourai, reflecting on the damage those blasts did to his mental abilities.  “It takes you longer to do things because your motor skills and memories aren’t there like they used to be.”

Gregg’s family wonders if the 35-year-old father of six had been pulled over a year ago, before his head injury, would he have made the same decision to run from police.

“What we know about Brandon is something that he stated,” said Wright. “’You never pull a gun out unless you’re going to use it.’”

Investigators said that’s exactly what IMPD officers were afraid of that night.

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