Central Texas man holds gun to cat’s head during remote court hearing via ZOOM

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Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 5:26 PM CST
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SPEEGLEVILLE, Texas (KWTX) - A Speegleville man with a history of mental health issues held a gun to a cat’s head Friday morning during a remote court hearing.

Bryan Andrew Bruce, 41, signed on to ZOOM so he could attend a pretrial hearing remotely for his arson case in 19th State District Court.

His image was broadcast on a large screen in Judge Thomas West’s court, while Bruce’s attorney, Brian Howell, was logged into ZOOM from his office to participate in the hearing.

County officials started ZOOM hearings during the pandemic and most judges continue the practice.

When it was time for Bruce’s pretrial hearing, he could be seen holding a large pistol to a gray cat’s head and grasping the animal around the throat.

West noticed the unusual behavior and asked Bruce why he was holding a 9mm pistol to the cat’s head. Bruce corrected the judge, telling him it was a .45-caliber pistol before adding that the cat was not a real cat, it was a “spy cat.”

“I wouldn’t do that to a real cat,” Bruce said.

West shut down the hearing after seeing Bruce’s behavior and conferred with Assistant District Attorney Will Hix and Howell.

Hix filed a motion to find Bruce’s bond insufficient because Bruce is not allowed to possess firearms as a condition of his bail bond.

Howell, in turn, filed a motion to have Bruce undergo a psychological evaluation based on his actions Friday during the hearing.

Hix also asked McLennan County sheriff’s deputies to perform a “welfare check” on Bruce.

Court officials said Friday that Bruce appeared at a previous ZOOM hearing wearing a bath robe. He is charged with setting a grassy area on fire that spread to a detached garage, officials said Friday.

Sheriff’s officials were waiting to see if Bruce’s bond was found insufficient Friday evening before going to his residence, and court officials appeared to be waiting on the results of the “welfare check,” and possibly the psychological exam, before dealing with the bond situation.