Skip to comments.Mute Air Force veteran, 72, with advanced Alzheimer's shot dead by homeowner ...
Posted on 11/28/2013 5:45:24 AM PST by Uncle Chip
after ringing his doorbell when he became lost and confused after wandering off in the middle of the night
A 72-year-old man with advanced Alzheimer's has been shot dead by a homeowner after he rang the bell at the stranger's house when he became lost and confused in the middle of the night.
Ronald Westbrook rang the doorbell of a home at 4am on Wednesday after wandering around in the dark for almost four hours in rural Walker County, Georgia. He had walked around three miles from his home by the time he approached the door.
The shooter was identified as Joe Hendrix, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, according to Sheriff Steve Wilson said.
Mr Westbrook rang the door bell and turned the door handle of the home in the new development where Hendrix had just moved in with his fiancée. The woman, who has not been identified, called 911 and was on the phone with a dispatcher when Hendrix confronted the elderly man in the yard with a 40-caliber handgun.
Mr Westbrook, an Air Force veteran, did not respond to the commands that Hendrix issued to him because Alzheimer's Disease has left the72-year-old practically mute.
Hendrix fired four shots with one bullet striking Mr Westbrook in the chest and killing him. The victim's body was removed from the scene at 10.30am on Wednesday.
It is unlikely that Hendrix will be charged with any crime, according to The Chattanoogan.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
I can’t imagine anyone shooting someone in that way. That is assuming the report is accurate.
I bet he is charged and should be.
Such are the days we live in. There are no villians in this story just grief, saddness and loss for all involved.
I pray that the merciful healing hand of the Lord would reach out and touch the trouble hearts of all involved.
I have similar thoughts. No situational awareness or thoughts that they are dealing with a harmless person; just a chance to kill someone. Many here on FR would disagree - they think any shoot is a good one, even the cop who riddled the kid with the toy gun.
No. If he entered the house and was told to leave and he kept advancing he may have felt a threat for himself or his fiancé. Bad judgement? Maybe but not a crime from my prospective.
Whomever was suppose to be watching the guy is the responsible party.
Similar to the Michigan case where the guy shot the girl who showed up at his door in the middle of the night.
I have made the personal decision to defend myself with whatever means I have at my disposal. But if the facts in the story are true, this is not self defense.
Hendrix is a stupid pos
he was shot in the yard
this was a little pos who shot someone asking for help
After the SHTF? In a zombie apocalypse? Anyone with a brain will be shooting strangers on sight if they cross the property line. When things are REALLY bad (and they are not right now) you would be well-advised to take no chances.
It is similar but worse in this case. The guy rang the doorbell. The girlfriend was on the phone to 911. He doesn’t shoot him at the door but shoots him when he is out in the yard.
He probably ordered him to tell him his name and he couldn’t — so he shot him.
That is murder.
The man being out and about is the worse case nightmare for caregivers. Sad to say sometimes Memory Care facilities which are secured are the best answer at least while the person can walk off.
A 72-year-old man with advanced Alzheimer’s ...
Ports & other medical devices are implanted. They should be
implanted with a chip or some kind of device to alert, identify & locate family or police.
Tennessee Castle Doctrine is pretty lax. All he has to claim is reasonable belied of imminent bodily harm.
The media (at any level) rarely ever gets the facts right.
Even when they don’t have an agenda they just fumble these cases very badly.
I seriously doubt that the facts recited in this article even come close to what really happened.
As a defense attorney I often deal with cases where the local news reports things that my client supposedly did. I have been stunned at how off the wall they often are.
I mean sometimes only 10-20% of the story is true and has facts supporting it.
That said, if it went down just as this article recounts, then I don’t think this is a good shoot.
And I am always on the side of the homeowner in forced entry cases.
Attempting to turn the handle is different than a forced entry.
And a confrontation in the yard takes the level of scrutiny up a huge notch.
Nobody said the guy had to go outside and give “commands” to this elderly person.
But I’ll bet there is more to this.
It will come out eventually.
If it was a good shoot then I feel real bad for how this article portrayed the homeowner.
But the girl was on the phone with the cops. Felt Threatened? Did the 72 year old have a weapon? Could 2 younger people overtake him? I took a class and saw a video SHOOT or DON’T SHOOT?
I can’t beleive this or maybe the report is not giving us enough information. I hope he is charged!
No one in their right mind takes the possibility of killing another human being lightly, even the most deserving low life. It is life altering event that be with you forever. That said, If I was awakened by pounding on my door at 4am (no doorbell) along with the barking of three dogs I would hope my training takes over. But as long as they are on the other side of the door, we all will be seeing the sun rise. Come thru that door and all bets are off. The only reason I would consider going outside was if I saw them committing a felony. A 72 year old man wandering around in the yard is not a felony.
I can see being alarmed by someone at the door in the middle of the night. But I wouldn’t have shot unless they forced the door.
LOL! People with Alzhiemers get lost all the time. I work in the senior living industry and you would have to have an armed guard at every door. Ain’t gonna happen.
There is just enough information in this article to confirm one thing: Alzheimer can cause you to do all sorts of things that will kill you or get you killed. This includes doing things that can be mistaken for attempting to violate peoples property with nefarious motives and then be confused enough to act and talk in a way that confirms a person’s suspicions.
I agree we probably do not have enough facts. Can’t depend on reporters or media!!
The guy should be charged. That’s ridiculous.
Totally agree with you. The use of deadly force should be prudently employed. Obviously here it was not, assuming this story is accurate.
There are no villians in this story just grief, saddness and loss for all involved.
God forgive me, but if I was under the condition that the poor veteran was, I hope somebody takes me out back and shoots me in the head. Seriously, I know that is not exactly what happened, but that veteran was going through hell internally and now is at peace with God. I truly believe he is better off. I know it sounds harsh, but I have seen what that disease is like and the longer you “linger” the worse off you are.
this was a little pos who shot someone asking for help
Not exactly. He was mute.
The following from a Chattanooga newspaper reveals that the shooter was not the home owner but was there visiting his girl friend, and the shooter left the home, pursued the victim into the back yard and then shot him:
A 34-year-old Chattanooga man shot and killed a 72-year-old man who rang the doorbell around 4 a.m. today at a home in a new subdivision off North Marble Top Road in rural Walker County, Ga., Sheriff Steve Wilson said.
At a news conference this afternoon, Wilson identified the shooter at the house on Cottage Crest Court as Joe Hendrix of Ooltewah and the victim as Ronald Westbrook of Walker County.
Wilson said the victim, who had advanced Alzheimers disease, had been walking around for about four hours and almost three miles before the incident occurred. He said Westbrook was lost and rang the doorbell and turned the door handle at the home, where Hendrix was visiting his fiancee.
The woman, who was not identified, called a 911 dispatcher and was on the phone with that person when Hendrix took a 40-caliber handgun outside and confronted the victim in the yard behind the home, the sheriff said.
Westbrook apparently did not respond to commands from Hendrix because his condition has left him essentially mute, the sheriff said.
Hendrix fired four shots, one of which struck the victim in the chest and killed him.
The victims body was removed around 10:30 a.m., and the shooter was allowed to drive off in his own vehicle.
Wilson said District Attorney Herbert Buzz Franklin, who was called to the shooting scene this morning, will determine whether any charges will be filed against Hendrix.
The couple moved into the home about two weeks ago, next-door neighbor Brandi Wallace said.
Wallaces family was awakened by the gunshots.
For complete details, see tomorrows Chattanooga Times Free Press.
implanted with a chip or some kind of device to alert, identify & locate family or police.
Eeak. That is a horrible idea. Can you imagine the outrage.
And some of us 2nd Amendment-loving gun nuts agree with you. Self-defense, including use of deadly force when unavoidable, comes with a heavy burden of responsibility. If the facts are as presented (that’s always a big if), the shooter left a place of safety to confront someone who posed no immediate threat, while police were being summoned. Going outside in the dark chasing unknown potential criminals is a good way to get killed by the criminals or shot by the police who arrive adrenalized and see an armed man roaming around. Hendricks seems to be culpable for negligent homicide at minimum.
Oh Lord. Is this going to be our Trayvon case where we look to the homeowner as a villain when he was just protecting his property. Sorry by the guy did not answer him (couldn’t) and he would not leave. I either need more information or I hope the homeowner does not get charged. That’s ridiculous if he is. Seems like the police are more responsible than you are at this point thankfully. Let the adults sort this out.
Agreed, but folks like me have a tendency to love veterans so it makes a difference to me.
But I understand what you mean.
It is difficult for me to imagine a scenario wherein a 72 year old man wandering around the front yard in a semi-responsive condition represents a potential deadly threat that justifies armed response.
You say that now, but I still believe that if you ever become disabled you will stop advocating murdering people for being disabled.
It sounds like it was likely a only one caregiver situation and the man simply got out. Families dealing with this do not get outside help in the way of others to watch the person if no other family is there. In other words caretaker is on their own.
If the facts in the story are accurate, this looks like a BAD shooting and the shooter should go to prison for a LONG time!
Not unless the 72 year old man dragged the 34 year old man to the ground and beat his head against the pavement.
So he wasn’t the homeowner — just the boyfriend of the homeowner.
Whose handgun was it — his or his girlfriend’s???
He was probably upset that the old guy ringing the bell interrupted his orgasm and he was going to teach him a lesson.
From today’s newspaper:
An Ooltewah man who shot and killed what he thought was a middle-of-the-night prowler — actually a 72-year-old man with advanced Alzheimer’s disease — Wednesday in Walker County, Ga., hasn’t been charged but he might be later, authorities said.
The slain man, Ronald Westbrook, had walked about 3 miles to the shooting scene from his home on Carlock Circle, Sheriff Steve Wilson said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference. When Westbrook was shot, he was clutching letters he had taken from a mailbox on Marbletop Road, where he had lived previously, the sheriff said.
A deputy had stopped and questioned Westbrook at about 2:30 a.m. at the mailbox, Wilson said, but Westbrook said he was getting his mail and lived up the hill.
Westbrook then rang the doorbell and turned the doorknob of a home at 188 Cottage Crest Court at 3:54 a.m., awakening Joe Hendrix, 34, of Ooltewah, and his fiancee. They had rented the home in the new subdivision about two weeks ago, next-door neighbor Brandi Wallace said.
Wilson said Westbrook was lost, confused and possibly exhausted. He had wandered for about four hours in the night with his two dogs, wearing a light jacket and straw hat as the wind-chill temperature hovered around 20 degrees.
“This one house at the end of the cul-de-sac had a porch light on,” Wilson said. “I tend to think [Westbrook] was drawn to that light.”
Hendrix’s fiancee, whose name Wilson declined to give, called 911 and stayed on the phone with an emergency dispatcher who sent two sheriff’s office patrol cars en route.
After a nine- to 10-minute wait — and before deputies arrived — Hendrix went outside armed with a .40-caliber handgun and saw the elderly man in silhouette behind the house, the sheriff said.
“There was no light except for the front porch light,” Wilson said, explaining there are no street lights at The Woodlands, the subdivision off North Marble Top Road west of Chickamauga.
“[Hendrix] gave several what he described as verbal commands,” Wilson said. “[Westbrook] continued walking toward him after he told him to stop.”
Westbrook was slow to talk, Wilson said, because of his advanced Alzheimer’s disease.
Fearing for his safety, Hendrix fired four shots, the sheriff said. One bullet hit Westbrook in the chest, killing him.
‘Should have stayed inside’
No charges were filed Wednesday against Hendrix, who drove himself away from the shooting scene around 10:30 a.m. as investigators were wrapping up their evidence gathering.
Hendrix and his fiancee were fully cooperative, Wilson said.
“Both [their] stories matched completely,” the sheriff said.
However, Wilson said that Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herbert “Buzz” Franklin, whom Wilson called to the shooting scene, might bring charges after reviewing all the evidence. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation helped the sheriff’s department on-scene with its investigation.
“We reserve our options and rights to file charges once the investigation is complete, if we feel like Georgia law warrants charges being filed,” Wilson said.
Georgia’s 2006 “stand-your-ground” law that allows people to use deadly force to protect themselves “may apply to this case,” Wilson said.
The dispatcher who stayed on the phone with Hendrix’s fiancee wasn’t aware Hendrix went outside the house with a handgun, the sheriff said.
“In my personal opinion, I believe that he should have stayed inside the house,” Wilson said. “Did he violate any laws by exiting the house? No.”
“Mr. Hendrix is clearly saddened and heartbroken,” the sheriff said. “Mr. Hendrix has to live with his actions for the rest of his life.”
Westbrook ‘a fine man’
Wilson said he knew Westbrook and they attended the same church.
“Just a fine man, fine family,” Wilson said. “I really hate it for his wife and his children.”
Westbrook’s family didn’t realize he had wandered off until around the time the shooting occurred.
“You can’t watch them 24/7,” Wilson said of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, which he said got progressively worse for Westbrook after he was diagnosed two years ago with dementia.
Contacted at their Carlock Circle home, Westbrook’s family declined to comment.
Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at email@example.com or 423-757-6651.
More likely he was a rotten shot as well as being reckless.
You ignorant f***. No one on FR thought that shooting that kid was a good shoot except for a couple of cop apologists.I believe they are missing a idiot over at DU, you had better get back there.