Each day is a struggle for the Morning family of Madisonville. They awake to feelings of frustration, anger and grief over a tragedy that left one of their own in a near-vegetative state.
Cody Morning, 21, has suffered with mental disabilities all his life. But now it's his physical condition that most concerns his family. He has had numerous medical problems since he was shot by Madisonville police officer Will Anderson. His injuries required six surgeries and nearly a month hospitalization at Scott and White Hospital in Temple. Today, Cody can't speak, feed himself, or move without assistance.
The tragic story of Cody Morning began December 3, 2007 when officers gathered around his Madisonville mobile home in search of a fugitive. They were looking for Travissance Smith and had received a tip that he was in the area of Cody's home. When they knocked at the door, they say Cody was holding a knife and refused to come out.
Cody was known to most on the police force. They also realized he had a warrant for failure to appear for a court date. When they tried to talk him out of the home, he refused. After more than an hour of pleading with Cody to surrender peacefully, the police decided to enter the house.
According to an investigative report issued by the Texas Rangers, officers used non-lethal pepper spray and mace to try to subdue Cody, but they were unsuccessful. Cody retreated to the bathroom with Officer Anderson in pursuit. According to Anderson, a mace cannister was lobbed into the bathroom from outside the home, Cody lunged at him, and he fired. Twice.
"I never expected for the police to shoot him," said Janie Morning, Cody mother. "All the police knew him and know how he is so it's still real hard."
Cody's sister Angel was shocked when she arrived at the scene. "It was bad because he wasn't moving. His body was all swollen. We didn't know if he was dead or alive. They wouldn't tell us nothing."
Cody was air-lifted to Scott and White for emergency surgery on the two bullet wounds he sustained: one in the shoulder and one in the wrist. For days, doctors didn't know if he would live or not. Finally, Cody pulled through.
Meanwhile, Anderson was placed on administrative leave while the shooting was investigated by the Texas Rangers. Monday, a Madison County grand jury cleared Anderson of any wrongdoing. It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Morning family.
"I don't think he should have been let off that easy," said Angel Morning. "I mean he's back out driving cars, doing what he was doing before and my brother can't do anything for himself."