A family of a 74-year-old veteran was concerned about him after he got out of surgery. Due to work and other circumstances, they couldn’t check on him yet, so they called the police to ask them if they could do a “welfare check.” Officials in North Carolina are launching an investigation to figure out why police officers broke into the man’s house and killed him, instead of checking on him.
Chief Robert Helton of the Gastonia Police Department shot and killed the elderly James Howard Allen on Saturday afternoon, according to The Charlotte Observer.
An officer arrived to Allen’s home around 10:20 pm, but when he didn’t receive an answer at the door, he decided to break in.
The Gastonia Fire Department and Gaston Emergency Medical Services were contacted by 11:30 p.m. and a “decision was made to enter the house, concerned that he may be inside in need of emergency assistance,” Helton explained.
Gastonia Police Chief told us that Officer Josh Lefevers had announced himself before breaking in through the back door of the house, but Allen was inside and had armed himself with a firearm.
“He was challenged to lower the gun down,” Helton claims. But what he seems unaware of is the fact that the 74-year-old man was on lots of post-surgery medication. He likely could have slept through the officer knocking on the door, and thought that burglars had broken into his house.
“The gun was pointed in the direction of the officers, and a shot was fired that fatally wounded him.”
Now, Allen’s family is demanding answers.
“(He) probably woke up, someone’s breaking in on me, so when you’re by yourself you try to protect yourself,” Robert Battle, Allen’s brother-in-law, said in an interview with WSOC.
“You kicked the man’s door in,” Otis Thompson, a friend of Allen’s said. “He’s disoriented and he’s in his own house, privacy of his own home.”
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(Article by Moreh B.D.K.)