Unarmed, Elderly Man With Dementia Shot Dead By California Police

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An elderly man, whose family stated was in the early stages of dementia, was reportedly shot and killed by a Bakersfield, California police officer early on Monday morning (Dec. 12).

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Bakersfield police were reportedly responding to a report of a man with a gun in a nearby neighborhood a little past midnight. Upon arriving, a witness reportedly pointed to 73-year-old Francisco Serna standing in the residence driveway, police spokesman Sgt. Gary Carruesco told KBAK-TV. An officer reportedly fired several rounds at Serna, who was later pronounced dead at the scene. Police searched Serna’s body for a firearm as well as his family’s home and cars, but didn’t recover one, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Serna was a retired father of five, who lived with his wife and daughter only one block from where the shooting took place, his family confirmed to the Times. Serna’s son, Rogelio Serna, stated that his father occasionally experienced delusions as an early sign of dementia. Rogelio also confirmed that Serna had difficulty sleeping at times and frequently went on late-night walks to tire himself back to bed. “My dad did not own a gun. He was a 73-year-old retired grandpa, just living life,” Rogelio Serna told the Times. “He should have been surrounded by family at old age, not surrounded by bullets.”

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It is still unclear why the police officer opened fire on Serna. Sgt. Carruesco did confirm that officers had responded to Serna’s home at least two times before because the elderly man would become confused and often activate the medical alarm. The officer involved in the shooting has reportedly been placed on administrative leave, while the incident is being reviewed by the department, CBS News reports. An autopsy will be performed on the body.