“During a search of Mr. Serna a dark colored simulated woodgrain crucifix was recovered,” Bakersfield Police said in a statement to KBAK : “Mr. Serna was not armed at the time of the shooting. No firearm has been recovered.”
Unarmed 73-year-old Francisco Serna who was in the early stages of dementia was shot and killed by a California cop responding to a report of someone brandishing a handgun early Monday, authorities said.
A Bakersfield police officer reportedly, shot and killed Francisco Serna early Monday morning believing he had a weapon. But a day later, the force said the retired grandfather wasn’t armed at the time of his death.
Francisco Serna, a retired father of five, was fatally shot in the driveway to a residence opposite his own residence, in southwest Bakersfield around 12:30 a.m., Bakersfield Sgt. Gary Carruesco said in a press release.
The victim’s family said he was in the early stages of dementia, and recently the medication was causing paranoia. He often took walks around the neighborhood at night to help him sleepbv and didn’t even own any firearms.
Late Sunday night, someone called 911 to report a man wandering the neighborhood with a revolver, police said. When cops arrived around 12:30 a.m. Monday, a woman pointed Sera out as he walked across the street and told the officers that he was armed.
“He was a 73-year-old retired grandpa, just living life,” his son Rogelio Serna said while speaking to the Los Angeles Times. “He should have been surrounded by family at old age, not surrounded by bullets.”
The police report states that Serna kept his hands in his pockets as he walked toward the responding police officers, and ignored their demands that he put his arms up and stop moving. After he refused to comply with the requests, officer Reagan Selman then fired several rounds, fatally striking Serna who was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
However, when investigators canvassed the area, they did not recover a firearm.
However, Donald Clark, a neighbor who witnessed the shooting said: “He [Serna.] had absolutely nothing. No gun, no knife, no stick, nothing,” Clark said. Adding that the next day officers were in the neighborhood searching for a weapon:
“They pretended like they were searching for a weapon, but you should have seen a weapon because you [police] pulled that first shot. There was no weapon,” Clark said while speaking with bakersfieldnow. The witness recalled police screaming at the victim to show his hands:, “show us your hands, show us your hands.” Clark said to Serna who looked confused.
Serna was shot dead in the driveway of neighbor Mable Jones, right across the street from his own home. According to Jones, her daughter encountered Serna moments before officers arrived.
The daughter was driven home from work after midnight on Monday by a friend. Jones claims Serna was standing behind her daughter when she got out of the passenger side of the car: “He asked her who are you and what are you doing,” Jones said.
In her statement Jones said Serna asked to see inside of the car, but her daughter refused.
The woman claims Serna had his hand in his jacket pocket and she thought he had a gun.
She ran into the house and told her boyfriend about the encounter. He called police to tell them that a man in the driveway had a revolver and was brandishing it at women.
Francisco Serna allegedly walked back to his house, while his neighbor walked into her own house and called cops and told them there was an armed man around. The victim remerged from his house when police arrived on scene.
Jones stated that Serna started walking across the street and she heard police tell him to get back in the house.
“‘Sir go back in the house, go back, go back,’ and he kept coming, ‘sir go back in the house, we’re going to sick the dogs on you, go back,’ still kept coming…the next thing you know they shot him,” Jones said.
Officer Selman and his partner were first to arrive, followed by the other five officers.
They had been interviewing the woman for a few minutes when Serna walked out of the house and she pointed him out, leading to the shooting. Selman, who has been on Bakersfield police force for 16 months, and the five other cops has been placed on routine administrative leave.
Bakersfield police had visited the Serna’s home at least two times in the past because the victim would become confused and activate a medical alarm, according to his son, Rogelio Serna. Police did confirm they had visited Francisco Serna’s home, without any details.
About eight hours before the shooting, police said, there was a separate incident involving Serna in which a neighbor also believed the man may have been armed, Martin said.
Serna had reportedly banged on doors and windows and attempted to drag the neighbor outside for a fight. The neighbor said Serna also kept a hand in his pocket and acted as though he had a gun, police said. The neighbor did not report it to police.