Elderly man with dementia killed by police

Francisco Serna did not have a gun like officers thought

(CNN) – The family of a 73-year-old man says he was suffering from dementia when he was shot and killed by police.

Bakersfield, California police are now saying that Francisco Serna did not have a gun like officers thought. They did, however, find a small crucifix at the scene.

New Bakersfield Police Chief Lyle Martin called a press conference late Wednesday afternoon to release information about the shooting that killed Serna.

Police say it all started on Sunday when a neighbor reported Serna banging on doors and windows. Just hours later, a 911 from another neighbor reported Francisco Serna had a gun.

The caller told dispatch that Serna had approached his girlfriend as she was getting dropped off at her house.

Chief Martin said there were a total of six officers who responded to the call. Only one fired his gun, firing seven rounds at Serna.

Chief Martin told the media why officers at the scene didn’t use non-lethal options. He said, “The fact we thought we were dealing with an armed subject. It’s approximately 20 to 30 seconds passed from the RP saying “that’s him,” to the first shot fired. So officers are taking cover, giving commands, trying to put together a plan.”

Chief Martin also responded to the family’s claim that the department knew Serna had dementia, saying he didn’t know. However, audio from dispatchers obtained the day after the shooting clearly described what officers were hearing over their radio, which included a notice that Serna had dementia.

Serna’s family adds police had been called to Serna’s home several times before without incident. They say he always carried a crucifix with him.

The officer who fired his gun was identified as Reagan Selman, who had been with the department a little more than a year.