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Police actions questioned after suspect loses eye

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ERIC CORNELISON
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MIDLOTHIAN - An officer shot John Robert Spencer, 37, in the face with a 12-gauge beanbag gun, but the woman who called the police maintains the force police used was unnecessary.

'It was true that Wendy Lane has publicly disputed the actions of our officers,' said Midlothian public information officer Britton Snipes.

Police had responded to an emergency call from Lane on Saturday, Feb. 3 about an assault in progress at the 1800 block of Millbrook.

When the police arrived, they were confronted by Spencer on the front porch.

One of the officers at the scene then shot Spencer in the face with the 12-gauge beanbag gun.

The officers subdued Spencer and entered the house to find Randall Glasser, 41, who subsequently was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Curtis Polk.

Following an early morning interview with reporters, Snipes confirmed he had said, 'The officer could not see Spencer's right hand behind a pillar and knew that there was an injured person inside.'

But Lane said, 'There are no pillars on the front porch.

'John didn't do anything; his hands were out in the open.'

Asked about the discrepancy, Snipes stated, 'No involved officer has said or reported publicly or privately that Spencer was armed or was anywhere else other than the front porch when the less-than-lethal bean bag round was deployed.'

Spencer lost his left eye, but he has since been released from intensive care at Parkland.

'The officer in no way deliberately or purposely intended to shoot Spencer in the face, head or eye,' stated Snipes when asked why the officers shot him in the face instead of the abdomen.

'Spencer's injury was an unfortunate and unintended negative consequence to his uncooperative, escalated and aggressive behavior.'

After release from the hospital, Spencer was being held in the Wayne McCollum Detention Center, charged with capital murder with bail set at $1 million bond.

Lane also complained about being asked back to the residence during the incident and then placed in the back of a patrol car.

Snipes stated, 'Upon her return to the scene, the situation escalated to the point where less-than-lethal force was deployed.

'After Spencer was injured, Lane entered the crime scene and approached Spencer, who was wounded but not secured.

'For her protection, the protection of the crime scene and in order to safely secure the scene and suspect, she was removed to the safety of a squad car.

Spencer said the front seats of the squad cars are crowded with computer hardware and police equipment, so she was placed in the back seat.

'Most squad cars rear doors can't be opened fro the inside as a security measure.

'So, yes, she was locked in, but she was not in custody, restrained or handcuffed.'

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