A 73-year-old man who was suffering from dementia was shot and killed by Bakersfield police on Monday, authorities have confirmed. The family of the unarmed man have claimed that the victim had been suffering from the early stages of dementia.

The incident

Bakersfield police Sergeant Gary Carruesco stated that Bakersfield police responded to a report of a man flashing a handgun on Silver Birch avenue early on Monday morning. When police officers arrived at the scene a witness pointed out a man in the driveway of a residence, one of the officers present then fired several rounds at the man, who was proclaimed dead at the scene.

The man was later identified at a coroner's office as Francisco Serna.

Son speaks on murder

Serna was a retired father of five and a resident of the block in which he was fatally shot by the officer. Although it remains unclear as to what he was doing outside of the residence or why the police officer shot at him, one of Serna's sons, Rogelio Serna, told the LA Times that his father had been showing the early stages of dementia and had subsequently began to experience occasional delusions as a result of this. He claimed that his father had been had been struggling to get to sleep at night so would often go on late night strolls to tire himself out before he went to bed. The younger Serna also claimed that his father "did not own a gun" and described his dad as a "73-year-old retired grandpa, just living life," and that he should have been surrounded by his family at his age and "not surrounded by bullets." Francisco Serna worked for many years in McFarland at a cotton gin before retiring in the mid-2000's, his son said he had begun to show signs of dementia in 2015 but that his symptoms had became a lot worse within the last month.

The Bakersfield police had visited the elder Serna several times at his house before, after Serna had become confused due to his dementia and activated a medical alarm, but it is still unclear whether or not the alarm was what initiated the police call on Monday morning.

The incident is now under review with the officer involved in the shooting of Serna placed on administrative leave.

Bakersfield police Sgt Carruesco did not confirm straight away that officers had visited Serna's residence prior to the fatal shooting. This story follows several other incidents in the last year of unarmed men being shot by police officers in the United States.

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