Demented Grandpa Held Crucifix Which Killer Cop Mistook For A Gun

by Wednesday, December 14, 2016

An unarmed 73-year-old grandfather whose family said was in the advanced stages of dementia was fatally shot early Monday morning by a Bakersfield, California officer. The incident happened in the same county found to have the highest per capita rate of killings by police.

A police news release said officers responded to a mistaken report of an “adult male brandishing a handgun” on Silver Birch Avenue. “When officers arrived, a witness directed officers to the man who was in the driveway of a nearby residence,” it said. The woman who called 911 pointed at the suspect and exclaimed, “That’s him!”

An officer fatally shot the suspect after he ignored requests to remove his hands from his jacket pockets as he walked toward the police. Authorities identified the fatality as Francisco Serna, a father of five, grandfather of 16 and great-grandfather of five.

The Bakersfield Police Department confirmed the subject was not armed. “During a search of Mr. Serna, a dark colored simulated woodgrain crucifix was recovered,” read a department statement. “Mr. Serna was not armed at the time of the shooting. No firearm has been recovered.”


The department identified the officer who killed Serna as Reagan Selman who has been on the force since July 2015. He has been placed on administrative leave for firing seven rounds along with six other officers who were on the scene pending an investigation.

Serna’s children said he was diagnosed with dementia in July and his condition has turned for the worse. “We had been taking him to the doctor almost two, three days a week this last month,” daughter Laura said. “I’m sure my dad was just scared to death because he had a little paranoia with dementia.”

Bakersfield lies in Kern County, California where police officers killed more people per capita than any other county in the US. Last year, the police killed 14 people in Kern County which has a population of less than 875,000. By comparison, only 10 people were killed by the New York Police Department in the same period.

 

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