Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Thursday, August 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 64° Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

Police fatally shoot unarmed 73-year-old California man, who family said suffered from dementia

By Travis M. Andrews Washington Post

Police in Bakersfield, California, shot and killed an unarmed 73-year-old man whose family claimed was suffering from dementia.

Details of the incident, which occurred about 12:30 a.m. Monday, remain scant at this time.

Police responded to a report that a man who was brandishing a weapon, Bakersfield police Sgt. Gary Carruesco told KBAK.

When they arrived, Francisco Serna was standing in the driveway, though it is unclear as to why.

“As some point during that contact, an officer fired several rounds striking the individual,” Carruesco said.

In a statement obtained by the Associated Press, the Kern County coroner said Francisco Serna was declared dead on the scene at 1:15 a.m.

After canvassing the area well into Monday afternoon, police did not recover a gun. According to one of Serna’s sons, he did not own one.

“My dad did not own a gun. He was a 73-year-old retired grandpa, just living life,” Rogelio Serna told the Los Angeles Times. “He should have been surrounded by family at old age, not surrounded by bullets.”

Rogelio Serna told KBAK that his father was against firearms and “even voted for them to get off the streets.”

According to Rogelio, Francisco Serna showed the early stages of dementia and experienced delusions. He said the elder Serna had trouble sleeping and would often take long walks late at night by himself, in an attempt to tire himself.

Rogelio Serna told the Los Angeles Times police had visited Francisco Serna’s home on at least two other occasions when he became confused and activated a medical alarm. Authorities did not confirm this.

Francisco Serna had worked at a cotton gin in McFarland for years, but retired in the mid-2000s. He lived with his wife and one of his daughters, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“At this point, the investigation really slows down while we interview everyone involved, all officers, and attempt to locate video surveillance and things like that,” Carruesco told KBAK.

The officer who fired the shots is on administrative leave pending an investigation, KBAK reported.

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email