A Georgia man that suffered from Alzheimer’s was fatally shot this week around one in the morning, when he left his home and got confused wandering the streets. Ronald Westbrook left his home, where his wife and two dogs lived with him, and walked around for three hours. The 72 year old knocked on someone’s door in the middle of the night and the homeowner, fearing an invasion or something similar, shot the man. The shooter was 34 year old Joe Hendrix. He used a .40 caliber pistol, shooting the Alzheimer’s patient fatally. Although this was clearly an accident, it is still a huge tragedy to have had happen.
These two were strangers, and it was very likely that Ronald Westbrook was confused. Alzheimer’s Disease makes it very difficult to remember certain things and causes dementia. Although homeowners have every right to own a gun to protect their property, that comes into question automatically when a tragedy like this occurs. As far as the widow left behind by Westbrook, she is uncertain how such a tragic thing could have happened. She talked about the incident this week, bible next to her on the couch. “I can’t imagine him feeling threatened by my husband, that’s what surprises me,” said the 70-year old Deanne Westbrook. “Because Ron wasn’t like that. He probably, I think he was so cold. He was looking for help when he was ringing that doorbell at their place. I think he just wanted somebody to help him.”
The investigation is being conducted right now, with the District Attorney in the area unclear as to whether or not the office will be pressing charges against Hendrix. Hendrix did not comment because of this investigation. The incident happened on November 27th. “He is not a gun-toting rights activist who’s saying, ‘Keep off my property,'” Hendrix’ attorney said. “He’s a man who thought he had to take action because of what he believed to be a real and imminent threat.”