Francisco Serna Death: Police Shot And Killed 73-Year-Old Hispanic Man With Dementia

Francisco Serna
73-year-old dementia stricken Francisco Serna was shot and killed by police officers after witnesses mistake crucifix for gun. Reuters

Living with a memory disorder is quite the struggle for many people battling dementia and alzheimer's. While there isn't much that can be done to treat the illness, there are times when dementia can lead to tragic consequences especially when police officials don't have the proper training to deal with said individuals. A Bakersfield community is now dealing with the aftermath of the death of an elderly man living with dementia.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Francisco Serna, a 73-year-old man in the early stages of dementia was killed by a Bakersfield police officer after a neighbor called 911 and erroneously reported the man was carrying a revolver.

The incident transpired after a woman arrived home and began removing items for her vehicle. Serna, who lives on the same block approached her and was reportedly acting very bizarre with one hand in his pocket. The woman believed to have saw a black-or brown handled object in Serna's pocket which peaked police interest.

The woman ran inside her home and told her husband to call the police. The husband told the 911 dispatcher that the man outside had a revolver.

The site reports that the police responded quickly, and met with the couple standing outside their home and saw Serna leaving his home across the street. 

Serna kept both hands in his jacket and continued walking toward police, who ordered him to stop and show his hands. Serna ignored the officers’ commands, police said. When Serna was about 20 feet away, after ignoring commands to stop, Officer Reagan Selman fired seven rounds at Serna, Barkesfield Police Chief Lyle Martin tells the site.

However, when police finally searched Serna for a gun, they found a dark, faux wood crucifix.

It is also being reported that eight hours before Serna's death, he had banged on doors and windows and attempted to drag a neighbor outside for a fight. The neighbor also revealed that Serna kept a hand in his pocket and acted as though he had a gun.

The shooting has caused quite the outrage with many people in the San Joaquin Valley community wanting answers as to how police deal with elderly and disabled individuals.

Rogelio Serna said his father had shown signs of dementia since 2015 and occasionally experienced delusions. Bakersfield police have reportedly visited Serna's home two times because his father was in a confused state and would often activate the medical alarm.

"My dad did not own a gun," Serna's son tells the site."He was a 73-year-old retired grandpa, just living life. He should have been surrounded by family at old age, not surrounded by bullets."

Despite all the backlash, police officials have stated that they are trained to respond to a variety of situations, including a man living with dementia. 

What do you think?
Loading...