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Man who shot Alzheimer's sufferer won’t be charged

Flashlight shooting class.
Flashlight shooting class.

The man who shot and killed an elderly man afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease late at night won’t be charged, the District Attorney said today. The District Attorney, Herbert "Buzz" Franklin, did not feel there was sufficient evidence to bring charges against the shooter. Franklin stated:

"You have to be able to prove what was in their mind at the time of the act. All the circumstances here could lead one to reasonably believe that Mr. Hendrix was acting in self-defense."

Ronald Westbrook, the Alzheimer's patient, got out of his house during the night of Nov. 27. He appeared hours later at the home of Joe Hendrix, knocked repeatedly on the door and tried the bell, apparently being in a state of confusion. The homeowner, Joe Hendrix, 35, armed himself, went outside, and confronted Westbrook. Eventually, Hendrix shot Westbrook, 72, several times, which proved fatal. According to Hendrix, the elderly man was carrying an object and did not obey his commands.

From the perspective of an armed citizen, this tragic incident raises several issues for consideration.

  • When you are behind locked doors, stay there, unless you have no other options.
  • Have a flashlight so you can make a positive identification.
  • People may disregard commands without having ill intent.

While Mr. Hendrix will not face criminal charges, there is no doubt that he will still have issues to deal with for the rest of his life. Assuming he is a moral person, no doubt the outcome of the confrontation will haunt him as long as he lives. He will most likely always be known in his community as “the guy who killed that poor old man.” In some cases, there are aftereffects in family life, as well.

“When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” A well prepared citizen should have a personal protection toolkit, both physical and mental, not just a single instrument.

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