Man With Dementia Shot Dead by Cop Was Armed— With a Crucifix

Francisco Serna was killed after officer from Bakersfield, Calif., fired 7 rounds
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2016 7:20 AM CST
Cops: Man With Dementia Was Shot Carrying Crucifix, Not Gun
Mistaken identity.   (Getty Images)

More details are emerging out of California on the 73-year-old man with dementia who was shot dead by police on Monday. Police now say that Francisco Serna wasn't holding a gun, as one Bakersfield neighbor who called 911 reported, but instead a crucifix, the Los Angeles Times reports. "During a search of Mr. Serna, a dark colored simulated woodgrain crucifix was recovered," a Bakersfield Police Department statement read, per USA Today. "Mr. Serna was not armed at the time of the shooting. No firearm has been recovered." The police report said a neighbor was being dropped off outside her home around 12:30am Monday by a friend and was confronted by Serna, who wanted to know if she lived there and who she said had his right hand "concealed inside his jacket."

She told cops she saw "a dark brown or black handled object that she believed was a gun" in his jacket and ran inside her home, where she told her husband to call the authorities. One of Serna's daughters tells Time that her father had recently started carrying around a 6-inch crucifix, perhaps for "security" because "there were moments where he thought he was going to die of old age." The cop who fired the seven shots at Serna has been identified by the Bakersfield PD as Reagan Selman, who's been with the force since July 2015. He and six other cops at the incident have been placed on administrative leave. A note at the end of USA Today's report: The Bakersfield Police Department was cited as one of the deadliest in the country in last year's Mapping Police Violence study. (More police shooting stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.