California police kill unarmed 73-year-old man, who had crucifix, not a gun


LOS ANGELES — An unarmed 73-year-old man refused to take his hand out of his pocket and stop walking toward officers who believed he had a gun when they fatally shot him, the incoming police chief of Bakersfield, California, said Tuesday.Two different people who encountered Francisco Serna in the hours leading up to the shooting had believed he had a gun, and police were answering a 911 call of a man with a revolver, incoming Chief Lyle Martin said at a news conference.Officer Reagan Selman, who had been on the force about 16 months, fired seven shots at Serna as he walked toward them in a neighbour’s driveway early Monday, said Martin, an assistant chief whose tenure as chief had been slated to begin Wednesday.The shooting came about 20 to 30 seconds after a woman who had encountered Serna pointed him out to police as he walked out of his house across the street and walked toward them, Martin said. Serna refused to remove his hand from his jacket pocket and to stop walking toward the officers despite many commands, Martin said.Serna’s family said he had dementia.Article Continued BelowDuring a canvass of the premises that lasted at least until the following afternoon, police did not find a firearm on or near Serna. Instead, they found a crucifix.“During a search of Mr. Serna, a dark coloured simulated woodgrain crucifix was recovered,” read a statement from the Bakersfield Police Department obtained by USA Today. “Mr. Serna was not armed at the time of the shooting. No firearm has been recovered.”Martin gave no further details.

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