“Hey, we need the police stat, to the hospital. We have a family member with a gun.” Those are words that no medical worker ever wants to utter, but that’s exactly what happened one day at Tomball Regional Medical Center in Texas.
The Washington Post described the desperate situation as a man being willing to do anything to save his son.
“Gary Hammond, Tomball police’s head of criminal investigations, told the Houston Chronicle at the time that Pickering was “distraught” over the care his son, George Pickering III, was receiving. The younger Pickering was on life support after having a stroke.
According to witnesses, Pickering yelled, “I’ll kill all of you,” and pointed the gun at hospital workers. A nurse and Pickering’s ex-wife left after he reportedly said, “You don’t think that’s the only weapon I got.”
Although Pickering was quickly disarmed by another son who was also at the hospital, he refused to surrender to police officers, resulting in an hours-long standoff with SWAT officers in the hospital room, as Pickering held his son’s hand all the while.
Eventually, he was coaxed into surrendering, according to the Chronicle. The incident landed Pickering behind bars on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — for which he was released from jail just this month.
Pickering said his son needed more time. “They were moving too fast. The hospital, the nurses, the doctors,” he told a local radio outlet. “I knew if I had three or four hours that night that I would know whether George was brain dead.”
Although George was eventually disarmed after refusing to surrender, the removal of his son’s life support was never carried out.
While the elder Pickering was serving time for aggravated assault, a miracle happened. His son woke up.
Yahoo News wrote that today, “George III is alive and healthy, and Pickering was released this month with one charge dismissed and the other reduced. The father was given credit for time served.”
“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.”
Phoebe Smith, Pickering’s attorney, said justice was served. “This case has always been about a father protecting his son, when his son couldn’t protect himself.”
George III agrees. “It’s the duty of a parent to protect your children and that’s all he did,“ said Pickering’s son. “Everything good that made me a man is because of that man.”