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Police fatally shoot unarmed 73-year-old Calif. man who family said suffered from dementia

A police officer shot and killed an unarmed 73-year-old man in Bakersfield, California. The victim's family says he was suffering from dementia. (Video: Reuters)

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

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

Police responded to a report that a man in the 7900 block of Silver Birch Avenue 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 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 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.”

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

According to Serna, his father showed 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.

Serna told the Los Angeles Times that police had visited his father’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.

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