Authorities are investigating the death in prison of popular business owner, mental health advocate

Authorities are investigating the death in prison of popular business owner, mental health advocate

State and county officials are investigating the death of a popular Norman business owner and mental health advocate who baked cookies in a small cottage on the corner of Main Street and Webster Avenue.

Shannon Hanchett, 38, died this week at the Cleveland County Detention Center.

She was found “unconscious and not breathing” by detention officers around 12:45 a.m. Thursday, according to a statement provided by the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department.

“Lifesaving action has been taken and emergency medical services have responded to the Cleveland County Detention Center, the statement said. The state medical examiner’s office will determine the cause and circumstances of Hanchett’s death.

Hanchett was arrested Nov. 26 by a Norman officer on complaints of calling 911 with a false alarm and obstructing an officer. The officer, in a court affidavit obtained by The Transcript, said he responded to a store at 1444 24th Ave. NW at the request of an employee.

“Upon arrival I contacted the accused who exhibited behavior consistent with some type of mental health disorder,” the officer wrote. “In trying to gather more information from the accused so that I could try to help her, she said she was going to call 9-1-1. I asked her not to call 9- 1-1.

“The defendant ignored my instructions and showed me her phone screen to prove that she had dialed 9-1-1. The defendant spoke to the dispatcher shortly before hanging up. I told the defendant she was under arrest and she said she wasn’t and I couldn’t arrest her.”

Hanchett “refused to comply with any order I gave him for several minutes while I waited for a support officer,” the officer said in the affidavit.

“Defendant again called 9-1-1 from the store’s landline and put it on speakerphone once the dispatcher answered. I informed the dispatcher of the situation and hung up the phone,” the officer reported.

The officer reported telling Hanchett a second time that she was under arrest when she “attempted to flee and then fell to the ground, where she physically resisted arrest.”

Friends told The Transcript on Friday that Hanchett called police the night of her arrest because she was having a “mental health crisis.”

His death is being investigated by the Sheriff’s Office and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

“Something is wrong,” said Kate Bierman, a former Norman city council member and friend of Hanchett. “Something is wrong.”

“Everyone is wondering how someone can sit in the Cleveland County Detention Center for 12 days on two misdemeanor charges,” said Kate Bierman, former Norman City Councilwoman and friend of Hanchett. “Something is wrong.”

Bierman said Hanchett was a strong advocate for mental health awareness who previously worked for the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

“Shannon was the kind of person who loved you instantly no matter who you were,” Bierman said. “She immediately found something special about you to highlight and enhance. She brought out the best and more in everyone she worked with.”

Hanchett, a mother of two, was a founding member of Norman Pride, an organization built around an annual parade and festival, Bierman said.

Her friend Ashley Brand called Hanchett’s death “an absolutely devastating loss to this community.”

“Shannon’s light touched everyone,” Brand said. “You didn’t need to be with her all day. It was contagious within seconds.”

Brand and Bierman are among those holding a vigil for Hanchett at 7 p.m. Monday outside Okie Baking Company, 231 W. Main St.

“We all got her cookies from her,” Brand said. “Everyone loved him.”

#Authorities #investigating #death #prison #popular #business #owner #mental #health #advocate

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *