Tag Archives: Crime

Wandering man with Alzheimer’s mistaken for intruder and killed

In my local newspaper there was a sad story about a man with Alzheimer’s who wandered away in the middle of the night and walked a few miles from his home. He ended up at the front door of someone’s house at around 4 a.m., where he proceeded to ring the doorbell multiple times and turned the doorknob. The residents, who had just moved into the home recently, were understandably freaked out and did the right thing by calling 911. But then the male in the house did exactly the wrong thing. He stepped outside with a gun and when he saw the approaching figure, who was now in the yard, he told the person to stop. The person did not obey his orders and kept coming towards him. The resident shot the man in the yard and killed him.

crime tape

Once the resident discovered that the intruder was actually an elderly man with advanced Alzheimer’s, he felt great remorse. Of course, the family of the man with Alzheimer’s also have to live with the violent and senseless way their loved one died. The police have not charged the man with gun yet, saying while it was foolish to go outside, he did not break any laws.

It’s a sad case all around but one that I unfortunately can see happening more in the future. It is easy for those who have never cared for a loved one with Alzheimer’s to criticize the family for allowing him to escape into the cold night, but we know how difficult it is to keep watch over someone with dementia 24/7. And those with Alzheimer’s may not be cooperative and act odd, even violent, scaring a stranger into taking drastic measures in order to protect themselves. Anti-gun advocates will want to blame weapons in the home, but it still goes back to the person and how they react in a situation.

I think about the several times my dad wandered off and how he could have ended up like this gentleman. It’s a sobering lesson for all of us.


Filed under Awareness & Activism

Dad concerned about our safety

Dad was always a bit of the paranoid type, and the crime reports were one of his favorite sections of the newspaper. There were plenty of kooks in California, and there never seemed to be a shortage of high-profile crimes being reported.

Fortunately, the worst I can remember happening to our family was my mom’s purse getting snatched when I was about four. Dad was at work at the time, and we were just outside the grocery store. My mom was probably checking her receipt and had set down her purse next to her on the bench when the thief swooped in. I remember a rush of air, my mom exclaiming that the man took her purse, and my little legs pumping after the guy. That’s right, a preschooler who’s a crime fighter! Needless to say, I did not catch him.

Even as an adult, when I talked to Dad on the phone, and after we got the usual talk of the weather out of the way, Dad would want to know how I got to and from work and if there were other people around. He would always tell me to be careful. The fatherly advice usually just annoyed me.

When Dad went into the nursing home, most of the time he recognized Mom but as the months went by, he became more distant. Still, as she prepared to end the visit and endure the long bus ride back home, Dad would tell her, “You be careful now.”

He was still trying to protect her, even when he couldn’t do it himself anymore.

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Filed under Memories