Flagstaff Police Fatally Shot 78-Year-Old Man With Dementia In Mental Crisis

The 78-year-old man who was fatally shot by Flagstaff, Arizona police officers was showing signs of dementia or other memory problems and had been having delusions, according to the man’s neighbors.

John Hamilton, 78, was shot by police officers around 9 p.m. Friday night outside his apartment on the 700 block of West Coconino Avenue, reported The Arizona Daily Sun.

Police said he was waving and pointing a gun, and after failing to obey police orders, officers Daniel Beckwith and Travis Rowden decided to shoot the old man.

Police say they tried CPR after shooting him, but it failed and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Eric Garrison, who lives in the apartment next door and watched the incident from his window, said Hamilton was holding a small pistol but did not have his finger on the trigger. He also said the man was flipping off police officers.

Erik Rothrock, who lives across from the suspect, said Hamilton had been having delusions, thinking people were stealing from him. He also described Hamilton as “amazingly frail” and said he could barely walk.

Alexis Green, another resident of the apartment complex, said she had given Hamilton a ride to the property manager’s office last week after he had locked himself out of his apartment. Green said she could tell he had “Alzheimer’s or something.”

Beckwith and Rowden are on paid administrative leave until the investigation is over.