California Cop Guns Down Senior after Mistaking His Crucifix for Gun

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension officers

A California cop fatally shot a 73-year-old man in Bakersfield after he took a crucifix he was carrying for a gun. The man’s family said he had dementia.

The shooting occurred early Monday morning. The next day, the Bakersfield Police Department acknowledged Francisco Serna was unarmed when one of its officers took him down. Officers said they retrieved a dark-colored crucifix from him after his death.

“Mr. Serna was not armed at the time of the shooting. No firearm has been recovered,”

a police statement reads.

The Man’s Dementia Was Advanced

His wife said he had advanced dementia and had no access to firearms. Rogelio Serna, the senior’s son, said his dad was a retired grandpa living his life. The son told reporters the old man should have died surrounded by his loving family, not by bullets.

The confusion stemmed from a 911 call on Sunday night when somebody told the dispatchers that the grandpa was wandering with a gun. Law enforcement agents made it to the scene around midnight. A female neighbor had told them the man was armed. At the time, Serma was walking across the street.

Police officers said it was dark and he had his hands in his pockets when he approached them. So, they had no idea whether he was carrying a gun as the woman said or not. In addition, he completely ignored their requests to stop and raise his arms. Officer Reagan Selman quickly drew his weapon and killed the senior.

Selman, whom the department hired 16 months ago, was placed on administrative leave, the police chief said. The department acknowledged the incident is tragic for both the family and community. A spokesperson for the department noted the officer shot the man under extremely difficult circumstances as he feared for his own life.

A ‘Bizarre’ Encounter

On Sunday, another neighbor though the man carried a weapon. That neighbor said the man tried to enter his house around 4 p.m. Sunday. One of his hands was in his pocket so he thought he may carry a firearm. The neighbor deemed the incident ‘bizarre.’ Serna reportedly left on his own, but the neighbor did not report the incident.

Around 00:00, Serna approached another neighbor. He went to the house of the woman that lives across his door when she arrived home in her car. As she was getting out of the vehicle, the senior told her to get back in. The woman thought he carried a weapon because he had a hand in his jacket pocket.

Moments later, the neighbor sought shelter in her own house and told her boyfriend what happened. The man called 911 to report a man in the driveway who carried a revolver to intimidate women. Selman and his partner arrived first on the scene. Five of their colleagues made it there after the tragic shooting.

The two cops were reportedly interviewing the woman when the senior approached them. The woman identified him as the suspect the moment he left his home, which led to the fatal encounter.

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