December 7, 2013

Gun culture meets Alzheimer’s with fatal results

A 72-year-old Georgia man who strayed from home is shot by a gun owner primed to fear an intruder.

By Ray Henry
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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A photo of Ret. Lt. Col. Ronald Westbrook sits on the coffee table in his home, Thursday, Dec. 5, in Chickamauga, Ga. His life ended when he wandered away from home, pounded on a stranger’s door and was shot and killed by the resident.

The Associated Press

She called Hendrix, who was in nearby Chattanooga, Tenn., who told her to call 911. By the time sheriff’s deputies and Hendrix arrived, the man was gone. Davis said what happened was documented in a police report.

Afterward, Hendrix took a Glock handgun that he kept in his apartment and brought it to his fiancee’s home.

The following week, Deanne Westbrook woke up and noticed that her husband and the couple’s two dogs were missing. Not long after, a police officer arrived to deliver the news.

For reasons that are not clear, Westbrook left his home and started walking. A deputy sheriff noticed him along a road around 2:20 a.m. and stopped to ask what he was doing, Wilson said. Westbrook told the officer that he was gathering mail and then planned to return to his home up a hill. While Westbrook’s answers were curt, nothing about the conversation alarmed the deputy.

Wilson said barking dogs woke up Hendrix and his fiancee in her home sometime before 4 a.m. Westbrook had walked to their house, the last in a cul-de-sac. He rang the doorbell, knocked on the door and tried the handle. In what may have been a startling move, Westbrook left the front of the home and moved out of view.

The woman called 911, and Hendrix got his gun.

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