Central Texas man seen pointing gun at cat’s head during virtual court hearing competent to stand trial: psychologist
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A Speegleville man who held a gun to a cat’s head during a virtual court hearing last week and who was arrested Tuesday for waving a gun around in a Hewitt restaurant last month is competent to stand trial, a psychologist has determined.
Bryan Andrew Bruce, 41, suffers from depression, anger-control issues and methamphetamine abuse, but is competent to face arson and deadly conduct charges, Waco psychologist Lee Carter wrote in a report filed Wednesday with 19th State District Judge Thomas West.
Bruce’s attorney, Brian Howell, sought Bruce’s mental evaluation after Bruce was seen on a virtual court hearing last Friday holding a gun to a cat’s head while Bruce was logged in from his home.
West, noticed the strange behavior, which was broadcast in his court on a large monitor, and asked Bruce why he was holding a 9mm pistol to the cat’s head while grasping the gray and black animal around the throat. Bruce corrected the judge and said it was not a 9mm but a .45-calber pistol.
He also told the judge that the cat, which could be seen moving on the teleconference screen, was not real, but a “spy cat.”
“I wouldn’t do that to a real cat,” Bruce said.
Bruce’s unorthodox behavior led officials to seek a deadly conduct arrest warrant for a Jan. 31 incident at George’s Restaurant and Bar No. 2, 1201 Hewitt Drive, in which Bruce is alleged to have pointed a pistol at patrons in the lobby.
Bruce was placed under $250,000 bond on the Class A misdemeanor charge, which allowed Carter to evaluate him Wednesday under a controlled environment at the McLennan County Jail. Bruce’s bail bondsman dropped his bond after his arrest on the deadly conduct charge, and West denied Bruce bond on that charge.
Court officials placed Bruce’s arson case back on the trial docket after Carter found him competent to stand trial. He is charged with setting a grassy area on fire that spread to a detached garage on his family’s property.
According to Carter’s report, Bruce works as an insurance claims consultant and lives alone in a small home owned by his father. He likes to keep his home dark, which Bruce’s mother told Carter worsens his inclination toward depression. He has had at least two psychiatric hospitalizations and his condition and tendency toward paranoia are “predictably worsened when he is under the influence of drugs, which has been a concern since adolescence,” Carter noted. Methamphetamine is his drug of choice, which Bruce told Carter he uses to help him concentrate.
“I used to use it like a tool to get my work done, but I’m not going to do that anymore,” Carter wrote in the report, quoting Bruce. “I used to use weed almost constantly, but over the past few years it made me more anxious, so I don’t need it. My theory is to do the drug, don’t let it do you.”
Bruce’s mother told Carter that her son had been abusing methamphetamine “for as long as two weeks” before the broadcast incident with the cat.
“Contact with reality was mostly intact, even though Mr. Bruce’s general worldview is influenced by paranoia and potential side effects of methamphetamine abuse,” Carter wrote.
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