By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
By Jeff Balke
On November 19, 1998, Robert Arthur Pearson interrupted a substance abuse users meeting at a building on Harwin Drive. Police report those in attendance said Pearson acted in a bizarre manner and said he wanted to commit suicide. Police were called, and officers took him to the Ben Taub NeuroPsychiatric Center for observation.
On December 31, 1998 -- New Year's Eve -- Pearson had been drinking in the 2400 block of Winrock when he slashed his wrists. He started fighting with the paramedics and tried to refuse treatment, so the police were called. Paramedics had to give the bandages and other emergency medical gear to police, and Pearson kept pulling the bandages off his wrists. He was taken to city jail and then sent on to Ben Taub. During the trip, he repeatedly banged his head on the cage of the patrol car. Officers had to stop and put leg restraints on him for the trip to the hospital.
On February 19, 1999, Pearson was in the residence of a female acquaintance in the 6300 block of Briar Rose. After he had been drinking, he ingested an unknown prescription drug. He broke a mirror and used the shards to cut his wrists. Uncooperative with police and paramedics, who took him to Memorial Hospital-Southwest for treatment, Pearson went on to Ben Taub's psych unit.
Just four days later, on February 23, Pearson, out and about again, went into the restroom of a business at 4100 Westheimer. He defecated on the floor and rubbed the excrement on the floors and walls and himself. He ran around the first-floor hallway with no pants, then became tangled in a chain-link fence outside. He was transferred to city jail and charged with public intoxication and criminal mischief. And once again, he was admitted to Ben Taub's psychiatric unit.
On March 5, Pearson threatened suicide inside the McDonald's restaurant at Main and Texas. He showed police his scars from earlier attempts and was taken to Ben Taub.
On June 14, Pearson had been drinking again and climbed a Primeco cellular transmission tower in the 6200 block of Skyline. He told nearby workers that he had had a falling out with a female and was going to kill himself. Police responded, talked him into climbing down and took him to Ben Taub's psych unit.
On July 23, security personnel at a hospital at 920 Frostwood called police when Pearson tried to get on the roof and jump off, saying he wanted to commit suicide. He was taken to Ben Taub's psych unit.
On September 12, Pearson turned up at Mama's Cafe at 6019 Westheimer. He was found hanging by his neck from a "rope" fashioned from his own shirt. A Houston Fire Department ambulance was taking him to Ben Taub when he regained consciousness and tried to open the back of the vehicle to jump out. The medics pulled the ambulance off the highway in the 4200 block of the Southwest Freeway to calm him, but Pearson jumped out onto the feeder road and ran. Police found him behind a building. He was abusive to officers, although they convinced him to calm down and get back in the ambulance. Police rode with him and restrained him. He was admitted to the psych unit at Ben Taub.
On September 29, Pearson returned to his perch atop the Primeco tower. He again threatened suicide. After a couple of hours of talking by SWAT officers and a police negotiator, he came down.
Police again took him to Ben Taub's psych unit; however, this time the doctor examining him refused to admit him. The doctor said Pearson was no danger to himself or others even though he'd been released from that same ward only five days earlier, officers reported. The doctor told police Pearson had gone to the tower only to find shelter and get something to eat, officers said.
On November 7, the Harris County Sheriff's Office handled Pearson after someone spotted him pouring gasoline on himself. He was admitted to Houston Northwest Medical Center and held for three or four days before being released again.
On November 11, in perhaps his best starring role to date, 44-year-old Robert Arthur Pearson returned once again to three of his favorite activities: drinking, climbing and getting naked. Bolstered by a couple of unpaid-for beers at Cabo's Mix-Mex Grill downtown, the self-described poet strolled across the street to climb to the top of the building housing the trendy Solero restaurant. Performing for the late lunchtime crowd, Pearson shed his clothes, threw them to the ground three stories below and proceeded to tear off parts of the building and toss them down, too. Initial amusement on the part of onlookers turned to dismay when masonry heaved from the building smashed the windshield of one parked car and dented others.
Police arrived, closed off Prairie Street to traffic, sealed Solero's customers inside the building for their safety and called the negotiating team. It took more than 30 minutes for the unit to arrive, though, because they were off duty, it being Veteran's Day, a city holiday. By 3:10 p.m. negotiators were able to give Pearson a bedsheet to wrap around himself, the Houston Chronicle was able to take its tasteful photo that ran on page 41A of the next day's paper, and Pearson finally gave it up and surrendered. He was taken to Ben Taub's psych unit and admitted. He reportedly had been upset that he couldn't afford to buy the medication prescribed for him at Houston Northwest.