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

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

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

“Life-saving measures were taken, and emergency medical services responded to the Cleveland County Detention Center, the release stated. The state Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the cause and manner of Hanchett’s death.

Hanchett was arrested Nov. 26 by Norman officers on complaints of calling 911 with a false alarm and obstructing an officer.

One of the officers, 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 defendant, who was exhibiting behavior that was consistent with some type of mental health disorder,” the officer wrote in the affidavit. “In trying to gather more information from the defendant so that I could try to assist her, she stated that she was going to call 911. I instructed her not to call 911.

“The defendant disregarded my instruction and showed me the screen of her phone to prove that she had dialed 911. The defendant spoke to the dispatcher shortly before hanging up. I told the defendant that [she] was under arrest and she stated she was not, and that I could not arrest her.”

Hanchett “refused to comply with any order that I gave her for several minutes while I waited for a backing officer,” the officer reported in the affidavit.

“The defendant again called 911 from the store landline and put it on speaker phone 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 she was under arrest when “she attempted to flee and subsequently fell to the ground, where she physically resisted being arrested.”

Norman police, in a statement issued Friday, said the call for service was “the result of multiple 911 calls requesting assistance in verifying the safety of the caller’s family.”

“The subject, later identified as 38-year-old Shannon Hanchett, of Norman, was found to be exhibiting irrational behaviors and provided inconsistent information regarding her family and their safety,” the department reported.

Police checked on Hanchett’s family and “found them to be safe without need of assistance,” according to the statement.

The department reported discovering “no policy violations by the responding Norman officers” during an initial review but promised a complete review of the agency’s involvement in the arrest “to ensure compliance with policy and training standards.”

“Our agency extends our thoughts and prayers to family and friends of Hanchett for their loss,” the statement read.

Hanchett’s death is under investigation by the sheriff’s office and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

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

“Something isn’t right,” said Kate Bierman, a former Norman City Council member. “Everyone has questions about how someone can sit in the Cleveland County Detention Center for 12 days on two misdemeanor charges.”

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

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

Hanchett, a mother of two, was a founding member of Norman Pride, an organization created to promote advocacy and provide support for the LGBTQ2SIA+ community, Bierman said.

Friend Ashley Brand called Hanchett’s death “an absolutely devastating loss for this community.”

“Shannon’s light touched everybody,” Brand said. “You didn’t have to be around her an entire day. It was contagious within seconds.”

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

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

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