Sad Story from Georgia

This is a discussion on Sad Story from Georgia within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; CHICKAMAUGA, GA (WRCB) - The Walker County Sheriff's Office is investigating after an elderly man was shot and killed outside a Chickamauga home. Police say ...

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    Member Array Tenncvol's Avatar
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    Sad Story from Georgia

    CHICKAMAUGA, GA (WRCB) -
    The Walker County Sheriff's Office is investigating after an elderly man was shot and killed outside a Chickamauga home. Police say the victim, 72-year-old Ronald Westbrook had Alzheimer's. He had been walking around in the cold for about four hours with his dog and apparently went to the wrong house.

    The 911 call came in just before 4-o'clock Wednesday morning from a home on Cottage Crest Court. Investigators say 34-year-old Joe Hendrix of Ooltewah shot Westbrook who had been walking around the outside of the home for several minutes and repeatedly ringing the doorbell.

    "He had traveled about two point six miles from his home to the shooting location by foot with a wind chill of about 20 degrees, very loosely clothed with his 2 dogs," says Sheriff Steve Wilson.

    Sheriff Wilson says 72-year-old Ronald Westbrook was most likely trying to find his way home, when he saw the porch light on at the home on College Crest Court. He repeatedly rang the doorbell, jiggled the knob and started wandering around the outside of the house.

    Thirty-four-year-old Joe Hendrix was staying at the house with his fiance. She called 911. About 10 minutes into the call, unbeknownst to the dispatcher, Hendrix grabbed his .40 caliber gun, and went outside to check the property. He spotted Westbrook, telling investigators he could only see his silhouette.

    "He gave several, what he described as verbal commands," says Sheriff Wilson.

    After Westbrook did not respond and move toward him, Hendrix fired four shots.

    "One of the shots struck the victim in the chest."

    Wilson says at this point, there is no indication Hendrix violated any laws.

    "There's no doubt in our mind that Mr. Hendrix and his fiance felt threatened this morning," says Wilson.

    But Wilson says in his opinion, if the dispatcher had known Hendrix was going to leave the home, they would have told him to stop.

    "I believe he should have stayed inside the home," says Wilson.

    Wilson, who knows Westbrook and his family, says this is a tough investigation.

    "We're all saddened that this has happened. Certainly saddened that Mr. Westbrook lost his life and was probably not aware of what was actually happening."

    Sheriff Wilson says Mr. Hendrix has been very cooperative with investigators and says at this point, he is not facing any charges. Wilson also emphasizes, this is still an open investigation.
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    Distinguished Member Array airslot's Avatar
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    Sad for everyone involved.
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    Very sad indeed.
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    If your loved ones are secured in your home, and you have called the police, wait it out, I say. I'm not going on a perimeter search without backup and the second pair of eyes.

    I don't have all the facts, but I would not have gone outside just based on the facts of the story. Criminal? Probably not. A tragedy that could have been avoided? Definitely.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Hard to imagine how an aging, senile guy walking a dog could be misconstrued as a deadly threat. Perhaps that's just me.

    Of course, with an open door and the visitor "advancing," anything's possible. Sad story, indeed. If as reported.


    The situation is a good recommendation for a quality double storm/security door arrangement, if one is in fact going to open the door to strangers/visitors. Wouldn't have allowed entry, or "advancing" on the residents. Something to consider.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEF View Post
    If your loved ones are secured in your home, and you have called the police, wait it out, I say. I'm not going on a perimeter search without backup and the second pair of eyes.

    I don't have all the facts, but I would not have gone outside just based on the facts of the story. Criminal? Probably not. A tragedy that could have been avoided? Definitely.
    In general, I agree with you and wished my living situation would allow the luxury of doing so. The response time around here is 30 minutes to an hour and due to my living situation, I have to clear the house to reach the rooms of the disabled family members I take care of. Once I have them "herded" to the safe room, where they take up arms, I go out and check the surrounding property in the case of a legitimate sound of attempted illegal entry being heard and suspected.
    "Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God." - Benjamin Franklin
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    This is truly sad for all involved...certainly not criminal actions by anyone. Perhaps the advice to stay inside and call police would have been best, but that is all hindsight now.
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    Very sad situation, even though I live out in the county and SO response time sometimes is not so great I am going to stay put unless there is someone actively trying to break in.
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    Hmmm... No charges... YET!

    Where is AOJI here? I'm not seeing it. Manslaughter for $100, Alex.
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    Yup..the Very least he should of took a flashlight with him.. If he would have the old genialman would be alive today... Sad, Just sad.

    I know there is violance in the word we live in,, but come on ; (
    H/D
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    very sad. and for the guy who shot him, he will probably be troubled for a very long time knowing he shot and killed a senile elder who had no idea where he was. i feel that that would keep me up most nights for a long time, but i don't know.

    i was just telling the wife yesterday that if you hear someone breaking in (or even if you think so), arm yourself and STAY in the bedroom or closet behind cover and give verbal directives when appropriate. don't go looking, even if you're talking to the night air. it's just common sense really.
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    Distinguished Member Array oldman45's Avatar
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    Unless paid to do so, never go looking for trouble. It will come to you if it is really there.

    The above incident is sad all the way around but blame is on both sides.
    1. Why would the shooter leave the safety and security of his home to go outside when 911 had already been called?
    2. Why would the family of an elderly man with known dementia be allowed out in the cold at that time of the morning?
    3. How does the police know several commands were issued before firing several shots? For that matter, how do they know the man was not shot prior to the 911 call being made? I worked a case once where a call was made to 911 to cover a shooting and another to cover a car accident (said the car had been stolen after the car had been wrecked).
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    Welcome to Earth, 3rd. rock from the sun.
    Unfortunate things happen sometimes, and this is one of them. The shooter should not have gone outside, but did.
    Should charges be brought up against him?
    No
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doghandler View Post
    Where is AOJI here? I'm not seeing it.
    Quote Originally Posted by oneshot View Post
    Should charges be brought up against him?
    No

    We don't have details on the visitor's capabilities, other than a description of his dementia and the statement from the resident that he "advanced" on the resident.

    Some questions I'm sure the investigators asked (more or less), regarding the potential for causing death or crippling injury on the resident:
    • What ability did the guy actually have to inflict deadly damage?
    • What actual jeopardy was the resident in, from having an aged dog-walker "advance" on him?
    • Did the guy actually attempt any threats or violence, beyond moving through the doorway ("advancing")?
    • What specifically did the resident see happening beyond an "advancing" person that equated to deadly threat?


    Just wondering.
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    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    I think at best the shooter was negligent. Ringing a doorbell and jiggling a knob doesn't equal trying to break in - especially with a dog on a leash. If he was doing it repeatedly, seems hard to believe they didn't know it was an old man. Of course, I've known some pretty capable men his age. All things considered, shooter is a moron.

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