Sep 24, 2012

Man with Dementia Shot in the Doorway of His Home

Henry Lee Sr, age 77, came to the door with a gun in hand. Officers gave repeated warnings to the man to drop the gun, but he did not.

Alzheimer's Reading Room

Man with Dementia Shot in the Doorway of His Home
An elderly man suffering from dementia was shot dead by police in the doorway of his home after becoming agitated by noises outside his home.

Henry Lee Sr lived alone, suffered from Alzheimer's, and he owned a gun.

Lee using a medical alert service called 911, and reported he thought he heard prowlers outside his home. Lee also told the 911 dispatcher that he had a gun and was prepared to use it.

As it turned out, police and fire department medics were responding to an emergency outside Lee's home and this was the likely cause of the disturbance he was reporting to the 911 service.

The 911 dispatcher told Lee that police officers would come and talk to him.

Lee evidently answered the door with a gun in his hand, refused to drop it, and then raised it at the police. At that point he was shot dead in the doorway of his home.

According to police spokesman Mark Jamieson the man was 'very, very agitated, very upset."

Read the official statement from the Seattle police department below.

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Written by Detective Mark Jamieson on September 24, 2012

At approximately 10:00 pm, a South Precinct officer contacted a person in a car in the 6300 Block of South Bangor Street that appeared was having some sort of medical crisis. Seattle Fire was called to the location. The officer was assisting SFD while they evaluated the person near the intersection of South Bangor and Renton Avenue South.

At about 11:00 pm, a person inside a residence in that same block called 911 using their medical alert relay service. The person calling 911 appeared to be concerned with the activity outside of the house, and said something about a prowler. The caller was extremely agitated, stated that they had a gun, and indicated that they would use it.

Two other officers responded to the location of the first officer and the firefighters. The three officers then approached the house to speak with the caller. A man came to the door with a gun in hand. Officers gave repeated warnings to the man to drop the gun, but he did not. The man refused all of the officers’ commands. At one point he raised the gun in the direction of the officers. Two of the officers fired their weapons, striking the man. Despite the efforts of the firefighters in attempting to render first aid, the man was declared dead at the scene. The officers were not injured.

Detectives from the Homicide and Assault Unit, as well as Crime Scene Investigation Unit responded to the location and began their investigation. The involved officers were interviewed and will be placed on administrative leave, as is standard procedure for any officer-involved shooting situation. This remains an active and on-going investigation.

Read more in the Seattle Times



Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room