Family Asks Cops To Check In On Sick Veteran; Cops Break Into House, Kill Him
74-year-old man was recovering from heart surgery; Police forced their way in at Midnight
A family in North Carolina asked police officers to check on the welfare of an elderly relative, a Korean war veteran, who was recovering from surgery. In response to the request, the cops went to the manâ€™s house at midnight, broke in, and then shot him dead.
Clearly the family were under the impression that police officers can still be relied upon to perform such helpful community duties, but they were tragically wrong.
WSOCTV reports that while the family asked the officers to check on 74-year-old James Howard Allen on Saturday afternoon, the police opted to visit the manâ€™s home very late in the evening.
When there was no answer, firefighters were called out to force open the door. On entering the building, police saw Mr Allen, who had just undergone heart surgery, pointing a gun toward them, prompting one officer to unload his own weapon at Allen.
Documents prepared for court note that three shell casings were recovered from the house, along with a .22-caliber revolver.
â€œI think that he probably thought somebody was breaking in his house or robbing him of something,â€ said the victimâ€™s sister, Mary Battle.
â€œThe thing I questioned is why make a wellness call at midnight?â€ said neighbor Gene Clark, who also told reporters that Mr Allen was hard of hearing, possibly another reason he did not answer the door initially. â€œAll I know is he was a good man,â€ Clark added.
â€œYou kicked the manâ€™s door in. Heâ€™s disoriented and heâ€™s in his own house, privacy of his own home.â€ said Otis Thompson, a friend of Allenâ€™s who said he would have reacted in the same way.
â€œThere should have been a better way to handle this. Something else could have been done,â€ Battle said. â€œIâ€™m so mad; Iâ€™m hurt. Iâ€™m hurt.â€
The Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton claims that officer Josh Lefevers announced himself before entering the building, and that Mr Allen was â€œchallenged to lower the gun down.â€
The court case will determine whether officers were justified in using deadly force. The officer who shot Allen has been placed on administrative leave.
Police attorney Scott Maclatchie defended the officersâ€™ actions, noting â€œThe law is very clear that a law enforcement officer may use deadly force to defend himself when theyâ€™re confronted with what appears to be an eminent threat.
â€œItâ€™s the officerâ€™s job to use force to get inside the home, if theyâ€™ve made every effort to get the person to come to the door,â€ Maclatchie added.