HomeGrab BagGeorgia Man ‘Stands His Ground’ Kills 72-Year-Old Disoriented Alzheimer’s Patient For No Reason

Georgia Man ‘Stands His Ground’ Kills 72-Year-Old Disoriented Alzheimer’s Patient For No Reason

The latest evidence that all “stand your ground” laws should be repealed unfolded the day before Thanksgiving in Ooltewah, Georgia leaving the family of a 72-year-old man suffering from Alzheimer’s with nothing to be thankful for as they sat down to have Thanksgiving dinner.

Ronald Westbrook had apparently been wandering for up to four hours with his dog, wearing only a light jacket and straw hat in freezing temperatures.  His family only noticed that he was missing at about the time that he was being shot in the chest by 34-year-old Joe Hendrix who went outside with a .40 caliber handgun while his fiancée called 911 to report a possible prowler.

Westbrook had at one time lived nearby and apparently became confused and wandered back to the old neighborhood from his home 3 miles away.  He had been approached at about 2:30 a.m. by a sheriff’s deputy at a nearby mailbox when he told the deputy that he lived there and was just checking his mail the deputy left him.  An hour-and-a-half later he rang the bell and jiggled the doorknob at the home where Hendrix and his fiancée lived, the only home on the street with an outside light on.

Hendrix said that he gave him several verbal commands to stand still but that he began to walk toward him anyway at which time he fired four shots at him hitting him once in the chest.  He was still holding the mail he had collected from the mailbox when he spoke to the deputy earlier.

The sheriff said that while Hendrix had apparently done nothing illegal he should not have left the house and simply waited inside for officers to arrive.

It has not yet been determined if charges will be filed the county attorney is awaiting the findings of the ongoing investigation.

“Stand your ground” laws are increasingly having the unintended consequence of people doing something that they can do legally even though it is not the right thing to do.

Watch the video here:

h/t:  Gawker

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About Bob Cull

I'm retired and live in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate NY. I have strong opinions and my political bent has not changed since I was in high school. Most of my family thinks that I need to find a "real" hobby to fill my time in retirement, but I am content to share my opinions with others and exercise my "right" as a cranky old retired dude to express my views--which are based on many years of real world experience.

96 comments

  1. I worked with Alzheimer’s patients for years. It was the most satisfying experience of my working-life. Most of them are very docile especially when you redirect them a bit. Once in a while Alzheimer’s patients do get physical, but usually only when you touch them, e.g. when you help them dress or use the toilet. I NEVER had an Alzheimer’s patient come at me for no reason.

    Reportedly, Hendrix went out his back door, around the side of his house, and to the front of his house, presumably, with his weapon trained on Mr. Westbrook. He had ample time (and space) to decide whether Westbrook was a credible threat to his safety; that is however, if he had the capacity to use good judgement, which in my opinion, he did not.

    The thing that bothers me most about Stand Your Ground devotees is that they seem to think only in terms of what they by law, are allowed to do, as opposed to what in good-conscious they SHOULD–or in most cases, NOT do. What I distill from their arguments is “If you come anywhere near me–and I determine what is near me, I will aggressively persue and kill you. I don’t have to determine whether you’re a real threat. The LAW is on my side.” Not one of the SYG fan-girls or boys would ever admit that even one person who invoked SYG made a mistake.

    What happened to this man is a low-down, dirt-rotten shame. Imagining the confused terror that he must have endured during the last seconds of his life is enough to make you ball your eyes out. Everyone in the chain failed him: his family members for failing to put eye-balls on him four hours, the police officer for not thinking “Something doesn’t add up here,” the shooter for not simply locking himself in his bedroom and calling 911, and finally, the sheriff for taking that opportunistic moment to score brownie points with his constituency instead of being professional and circumspect while he gathered evidence.

    • It’s not a Stand Your Ground case, but feel free to continue posting. It’s like saying “beetlejuice” three times, eventually you’ll get it right.

  2. Remember kiddies the next time a dementia-addled septuagenerian is at your door: “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.” [eyes rolling]

  3. This tragedy WAS NOT in Ooltewah, GA. There is no Ooltewah, Georgia.. Ooltewah is in Tennessee! It happened near Lafayette, GA not far from my town of Dalton. Thus far, the police have done NOTHING only to say “…Mr. Hendrix is clearly saddened and heartbroken… and has to live with his actions for the rest of his life.” How F’ing pathetic is that???? Hendrix should spend time behind bars for manslaughter, but thanks to criminal Tea Party Republicans and their stand your own ground laws that have gotten passed in nearly every state, nothing will likely ever happen! Pathetic! But you know what?? 2014 is coming fast!

  4. Mr. McDonald, You are aptly named Ronald McDonald. Only a clown would even attept to defend this coward with a gun’s murder of this old man. There is NOTHING that can justify his actions based on what has been told of it. I doubt there is much more to tell either except that he will probably get off because of the insane Castle and Stand Your Ground laws the Teabaggers have forced on all us sane people. I truly hope, but you probably do, hope you don’t own a gun because I gather from your comments that you are just like the coward with a gun, willing to shoot first and not be able to ask questions later. Then you will claim you were in fear for your life too. Go ahead and defend your version of freedom for it is Teabaggers like you that will find the freedom you seek so highly to protect to be the downfall of your Tea Party. For sooner or later the American people are going to come to their senses and show you that law rules over anachy with a gun.

    • There is EVERYTHING to justify his actions.

      16-3-24.
      (a) A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such threat or force is necessary to prevent or terminate such other’s trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with real property other than a habitation or personal property:
      (1) Lawfully in his possession;
      (2) Lawfully in the possession of a member of his immediate family; or
      (3) Belonging to a person whose property he has a legal duty to protect.
      (b) The use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to prevent trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with real property other than a habitation or personal property is not justified unless the person using such force reasonably believes that it is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

      A stranger came onto his property with a dog, and ignored repeated warnings to leave the property.

      Castle Laws are old as dirt and pre-exist “Teabaggers” by many years. And your statements about “coward with a gun” would cover every law enforcement officer.

  5. Very sad story and revealing of an unhealthy mindset with awful consequences. A technical matter: this event occurred in Chickamauga, Georgia (as mentioned in the video) not Ooltewah. Ooltewah is not far away, but across the state line in Tennessee. I used to live there (Ooltewah) but sometime worked in Chickamauga. I don’t know how Mr. Cull got the Ooltewah confused into the matter from New York state but this should be corrected.

    • One of my sources, The Times Free Press, which appears to be part of the Chattanooga Times, refers to Hendrix as “an Ooltewah man,” Don, since he was at home the natural inference was that the incident took place in Ooltewah. The only location references in the rest of the article are street names and Walker County so it was an honest and natural mistake.

  6. How very said indeed. Those that find themselves trying to justify kill this old gentleman will, if God will, get old. If one believes in pray, one should pray hard for a sound mind. No way one try yo twist this sad incident, it was wrong plain and simple. Too those that try to speak about the general and specific behavior actions of Alzheimer’s demented patients are more confused than this gentleman. Being one of those that treat individuals with this type of dementia greater than 15 years can speak relatively specific on the this subject. All one can say is that on the threat scale of 10, about a 1, possible 2 level existed. Coupled with age and time of day (night), a likely to possibly no higher than 3. This increased is solely dependent upon the people’s IQ level of recognition of situation presentation. Simply, if one is anxious to use a gun then any presentation is reasonably justifiable. Confusion in Alzheimer’s patients is well documented. No one has indicated a history in this brief article of a violent behavior from this gentleman. Just wandering with confusion. Common baseline factors found in dementia of this type. The implications of the commonality of violence in all Alzheimer’s demented patients is just as stupidly subjective as trying to justify the murder of this demented 72 year old as implied in some commentaries. Yes, some Alzheimer’s patients can be violence. But to imply that this was a history and threat from this gentleman is so subjectively stupid nothing else can be said. On the objective side, the shooter never asked, according to the article who was ring his doorbell. Yes the police was called. The gun was grabbed and used without any indications of violence. Like most with gun use these day, shoot first and ask/answer questions later.. A very sad commentary to our morality as a supposed/implied God loving/fearing society. Then to, the worse of these types (Tea-baggers) usually claim God is on their side only and death is not good enough to all that don’t follow their line of reasoning.

  7. Castle Doctrine, Stand Your Ground, whatever name any state chooses to call it, It’s all the same thing. License to kill, just claim you were in fear for your life and chances are you’ll get off. This confused 72 yr. old man was a threat to no one at any time. But, in Fearful Teabagger Eye’s the confused 72 yr. old man was a rampaging criminal intent on doing great bodily harm to the homeowner with the letters he held in his hand. Letters are a deadly weapon in Fearful Teabaggers Eyes and anyone carryng them should be shot on sight. Idiots! Go play with each other with your guns. At least if yu shoot your fellow Tea Baggers it will be doing all of us a public service.

  8. I sincerely hope Robyn Murphy doesn’t own a gun. She clearly doesn’t have the sense God gave a gnat.

  9. Another tragic situation that could have been worked out if he would have stayed in his house and just called the police. I’m not sure what they will do to the guy with the gun but he should be punished.

  10. WTF these idiots with their SYG mentality. I remember years ago an old man walked into our home, it was clear he thought he was home and we sat him down gave him a glass of water and called the police to see if they knew who he was, it turned out he lived a few blocks away and suffered from dementia and the police knew him, obviously this had happened before. The police soon arrived and took this harmless man home where he belonged.

  11. Sadly my mother died with this disease. Most people don’t realize, its not all about memory loss. Their final days are loss of speech, loss of motor skills, them finally loss of ability to move then swallow. The body shuts down a function at a time. We they can no longer swallow, they are intravenious feed. Only matter of week or so after that. I hate that disease. It took a loving mother and slowly destroyed any ability to function and live.

    • I am so sorry at the news of your mother and her passing. It was very heart rendering and it must haven been difficult to share but thank you for doing so; it puts the tragedy of this inn even more stark relief. Life is unpredictable, and can be so mean. May you mother rest in peace (blessed be her memory). As to the loss, from one child to another whose loved one passed, if gets easier as time passes. Best to you!

  12. A very sad story. Certainly the gentleman should not have been shot.

    Unfortunately this article is poorly researched. Georgia law allows “Defense of Habitation” as a justification for deadly force. Known in other states as the Castle Doctrine. The law is covered under Georgia statute 16-3-23. It has nothing to do with Stand Your Ground which applies to other situations.

    Please, if you are going to argue the law, know what the law is first. It does not help your argument.

    • OK, never mind the law. Here is the bottom line. This incident proves that vast, vast, vast majority of citizens are incapable of exercising proper judgement regarding the use of deadly force. The law should be struck down. And the man who shot “the intruder”, is a murderer and should go to Prison for 20 years.

      • Not just that one law! you ALL need your guns taken off you, this bullshit Rule by the gun Rubbish that pervails in American society is fucked. No other country on earth is there a populace so in fear that they must shoot a 73 year old man down on your doorstep! yes i realize it wasnt his damn house, but how about taking 3 seconds to ask, Sir are you ok, this isnt your house please leave! your retarded 2nd amendment cost that man his life! Well Said Art Cramer, perhaps your 1 American i can see actually sees how screwed up this situation is! Enough is enough!

        • The second amendment is here to stay, you can get off your soap box and quit preaching on that Nigel. You won’t get rid of it, and an outright confiscation will result in the deaths of those who try it. As well it should. The second amendment has nothing to do with SYG nor does it have to do with criminals, nor does it have to do with hunting. It has to do with defending yourself against a tyrannical government. Everything else is just common sense. Yes you should be able to defend yourself from a criminal, yes the man who shot that criminal in the family dollar in Alabama was right to shoot him because he was committing an armed robbery, I only wish THAT son of a bitch had ended up dead. As far as this goes again I say there are factors that are unknown, I support both the second amendment as well as SYG and I say that he should have known better than to shoot that man. Nobody who breaks into your house is going to ring the doorbell and jiggle the knob first. But again there is no telling what went through that man’s mind before he pulled the trigger. There is no way of knowing if he could tell how old that man was, or how large that dog was. Did you know that people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease are known to become aggressive due to things such as physical discomfort, or feeling lost? I know if I had just walked three miles during the winter with nothing to protect me from the elements but a straw hat and a light jacket I would be experiencing quite a bit of discomfort, and if after that I couldn’t get in to what I thought was my house? Well I imagine that would definitely make me feel out of place and a little lost, if not just angry by merit of the fact that it is freezing cold outside and I can’t get into my own house. Then the person who opens the door is telling me to stop moving? There are several factors here that people are not considering. That man had his fiancee inside, it is not only his duty to protect himself, but her and his home as well. You cannot assume that the man’s actions were completely unjustified until the ongoing investigation shows evidence otherwise. Think before you speak, perhaps do a little research.

          • Could have been your grandfather out there. Or somebody lost in the neighborhood. Lots more people these days with Autism, neurological disorders, dementia, Alzheimers. People whose car may have broken down. Where has common sense gone? I knew any article reporting where a gun was indiscriminately used would bring out the mercenary types in defense of their weapons to fight off the government ….. as if the govt. has invaded your home in the past century or so. Next time it could be one of your own family seeking help somewhere and being shot in the face.

          • Anyone who believes that the Second Amendment is about “defending yourself against a tyrannical government” is incapable of the level of discernment and discretion necessary to operate a firearm responsibly. The Second Amendment is primarily about the power of the government to defend the Republic against invasion or insurrection, not a “get out of jail free” card for insurrectionists. The NRA and its minions cobbled the “government tyranny” argument out of illiterate half-truths; it has been embraced by a gullible and deeply paranoid contingent that should be broken, not armed.

          • The same could be said of the First Amendment. Especially in your case.

      • “This incident proves that vast, vast, vast majority of citizens are incapable of exercising proper judgement regarding the use of deadly force. The law should be struck down. And the man who shot “the intruder”, is a murderer and should go to Prison for 20 years.”

        Not really. This incident proves that one individual exercised poor judgement.

        If we are going to punish people for poor judgement, they should also be sentenced to jail time for exercising poor eating habits and not exercising enough. Far more people die from heart disease every year than from accidents, suicides and homicides involving firearms.

        • If you exersize poor judgement in how you live a lifestyle, you hurt only yourself, if you exersize poor judgement with a gun, you end someone else’s life.

          • If you “exersize” poor judgement by posting illiterate comments online, your name is aurens66.

    • I partially disagree.

      While “Castle Doctrine” and “Defense of Habitation” laws do differ from Stand Your Ground in the details, the rationalization and ideologies behind the different laws are almost identical; SYG is in many ways just extending the principles behind Castle Doctrine to areas outside the ‘castle.’ Thus, while I would agree that they are different things, I would argue that they are still related things and consequently that claiming they have “nothing to do” with each other is inaccurate.

    • Yeah. ringing a doorbell and jiggling a doorknob is clearly a justification for defending your habitation with a .40 handgun…

    • I thoroughly research everything I write, Ron, if my research is wrong then so are the Georgia authorities. From one of the newspaper articles I used as source material: “Georgia’s 2006 “stand-your-ground” law that allows people to use deadly force to protect themselves “may apply to this case,” Wilson said.”

      The Wilson quoted is Sheriff Steve Wilson of Walker County, Georgia where the incident took place. But don’t take my word for it here’s a link to that article.
      http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/nov/28/wandering-man-with-alzheimers-shot-killed/

      • Bob, apparently you didn’t read the Georgia statutes. The Sheriff is a law enforcement officer and not an attorney. He is playing to the press by invoking Stand Your Ground because that’s the flavor of the month amongst media types and the gun control movement. It has been since the Trayvon Martin incident. And like the Trayvon Martin incident, also erroneously cited.

        And it’s also what Joe Hendrix’ attorney will cite as statute. The case is about whether or not Hendrix felt threatened and was justified in using lethal force. It’s not required that Hendrix perform medical tests or retreat into his domicile.

        • Retreating doesn’t come into play, Ron, not when Hendrix ADVANCED to the outside. Please feel free to explain how often a prowler or burglar rings the doorbell. If he did not want to answer the bell fine, remain in the house. He slipped out another door and challenged a man unable to respond as rapidly as he wanted him to and without any evidence that the man was armed or dangerous shot him down. There is no excuse for this whether it was legal or not.

          • He’s not required to retreat on his own property. You’d like to make this an argument about Stand Your Ground, but it’s not the issue here.

            Prowlers and burglars OFTEN ring the doorbell or knock on the door to ascertain the whereabouts of the occupants. A good deal of people are on their way to work at that hour.

            It’s quite obvious to me that you have done nothing to research this case, or home defense cases in general.
            You just jumped on your soap box to make your statement about Stand Your Ground laws. And failed miserably.

          • I dare say I did more research than you Ronnie the clown. I don’t even begin to write an article until I have looked at all the material I can find on it. You are the one who keeps saying the d-bag didn’t have to retreat when it is he who advanced. He was safe INSIDE his home the cops were ON THE WAY and he sneaked out the back door and approached Mr. Westbrook and without waiting to see the man clearly enough to ascertain that he was in fact an elderly gentleman who WAS NOT ARMED he opened up on him. I would never go hunting with the moron, he doesn’t know enough to properly identify his target before firing.

          • I dare you you DIDN’T.

            RT reports that authorities say the state’s “stand your ground” law may apply in the shooting death. Georgia’s 2006 law states that a person “has no duty to retreat” and has the right to “stand his or her ground,” including the use of deadly force pertaining to self-defense of one’s home or property.

            Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said it’s up to the district attorney’s office to determine whether the state’s “stand your ground” law will apply in the case.

            Wilson feels Hendrix shouldn’t have come outside, but didn’t break any laws by doing so.

            “In my personal opinion, I believe that he should have stayed inside the house,” Wilson said, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Did he violate any laws by exiting the house? No.”

            http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/guns/georgia-s-stand-your-ground-law-may-apply-shooting-death-ronald-westbrook-homeowner#

            Keep trying to make the facts fit the conclusion.

          • I reported the sheriffs comments genius! No one here at AATTP has ever called for a ban on all guns or confiscation what we have said is that there are many out there who own them and SHOULDN’T you and Hendrix are two of those. You believe that just because it is legal to do something that means that it is the right thing to do and this was not the right thing to do. Many years ago I awoke and heard someone trying to jimmy the lock on my door, I took my shotgun down off the wall and walked quietly to the door, I didn’t even bother to grab any shells, just the gun. I racked the slide on that shotgun and heard the sound of running feet going as fast as they could. Problem solved and I didn’t have to kill anyone.

            Oh and by the way one of my sources was the Chattanooga Times. I’d tell you what to kiss but I wouldn’t want your diseased lips anywhere near anything of mine.

          • None of my comments are about banning guns or confiscation. Nor did I ever state it was the right thing to do. You like to put words in my mouth to make your Strawman arguments. Nor do I care about your anecdotes about racking your shotgun. You weren’t there at that house in Georgia. Fortunately you are behind your keyboard and talking smack because that is about all you are good for.

          • This is the only place where I encounter disrespect simply because I have a liberal philosophy, Ronnie. Contrary to popular belief, the only part of NYS which is predominantly liberal is downstate, in the NYC area. I live in an area where I am in the distinct minority, most of my friends disagree with me politically, but they don’t call me names, they don’t feel the need to denigrate me and call me stupid or coward because of my beliefs, they are and remain my friends. It is only online where I encounter the trolls like you who do that sort of thing and then have the gall to be offended when I don’t return disrespect with the respect that is their due, simply because they “know” they are right and I am wrong.

            Newsflash, the general consensus is and always will be in a situation such as this unjustified killing is that you are WRONG.

          • You started in with the name calling, Ron. You want to argue the law, stick to the law. Don’t stray into the moral realm and get all butt hurt when someone disagrees with you on legal grounds. The title of you blog begs ridicule.

  13. I know that folks will Alzheimer’s can be violent strong and a danger to their selves and others. They can be psychotic and are not respectable at times. Everyone wants to pretend this is not true but it is. Anyone out in society needs to have the same rules and if unable needs to be in a place where they cannot wander. I can see how it would have been scary and this home owner had every right to do what he did.

    • No, there is nothing “right” or “just’ in the shooting of this man. This homeowner is a MURDERER, and should go to Prison for 20 years. Period!

      • Art, Robyn’s point is well made and accurate. Just because she doesn’t join your “peace, love and dope” train doesn’t mean she can’t be correct. In point of fact, I agree with her. The problem here is that you and others don’t see that that man should never been allowed to wander about for FOUR HOURS dressed like a loon in freezing weather. He should have been in a home for assisted living. Had he been, or had his family actually been seeing to his considerable needs, he would still be very much alive today. As it stands, nobody here is in full custody of the facts in this case. The homeowner will likely be charged and the situation judged by his peers. They may well agree with you. I personally feel that the man acted rashly and should pay a penalty for that behavior. After all, according to what we know, the man was safe IN his home and did not need to go outside to confront the “prowler”. That particular piece of evidence, if true, would not be covered under a “stand your ground” statute because the gun owner forced the confrontation instead of waiting for police to arrive from the relative safety of his domicile. These laws were not created to allow people to become brazen and seek confrontation but to allow them a means to defend themselves without threat of incarceration when a confrontation is forced upon them. I think it’s fairly obvious that this man probably overstepped his bounds. But the law itself isn’t to blame.

        • Chris, a policeman stopped him, asked, and as related thought he lived in a house where he stopped this man. You missed that in the story. There are too many people who simply have not the temperament to use and hold a weapon. This story is proof of that. There are too many weapons in the hands of too many people, too unqualified to hold or use them.

        • It is laws like this that make these guys think that it is okay to play vigilante, Chris, so yes, the law is at least partially to blame.

    • Seriously? He needed to shoot the 72 year old man who’d ben wandering around for hours in the cold to defend himself? Dude had no other choice but homicide to protect himself from the 72 year old man because alzheimer’s gives geriatric’s superhuman strength. I repeat; seriously?

      • Shayne…I agree with you..this guy had a gun and went all stupid on an old man. He was safe IN his house..the old guy would have at the most scared them till the cops arrived..but no, he has to be Dirty Harry and kill the guy before the cops arrived so he feels all manly now…total BS, the guy wanted a reason to kill and found it…and since this is Georgia, he will get away with it…that state is like Florida.

    • The old man was hardly dangerous. He was wandering around, seemingly rational enough to have a conversation with a deputy. Not agitated, not belligerent.

    • you’re just another Monday morning quarter back, Robyn — all of the answers and no abilities to back them up.

      Alzheimer’s patients can, at times, be capable of great strength but at the same time they do not have the motor skills or co-ordination to do much with that strength. they are NOT Psychotic, nor are they violent.

      You are apparently another of the paranoid crowd who believe that an arsenal of guns will guarantee your safety and that the fictional old west of movies and TV was real and that it was somehow a golden era. There is and can be no justification for what Hendrix did no matter how you spin it. All he had to do was stay in the house and wait for the police to arrive and take Mr. Westbrook home so he could have had Thanksgiving dinner with his family.

    • Did your mother have any children who lived?

  14. A coward with a gun is awful dangerous. Most of them have guns because they’re so G-D afraid.

  15. I don’t believe on these gun laws, at all! This just is an unforgivable act and a man just shot an old man just because. These gun nuts are itching for a reason to play with it and use it at whatever chance they get. They are like children with new toys, wanting to use it as soon as possible. I would know first hand, my dad almost shot me with his new assult rifle when I was 16.
    It was about 1 or 2 in the morning and I realized I left phone charger in the truck. Like any teenager they have to have that item right then and there. So I got up as silent as I can and snuck around the house looking for keys, which I found with out waking up my family. I went outside, and fumbled around the truck looking it for. Once I found it I closed up the truck and not thinking I pressed the lock button on the key twice which made the car beep which in turn made the dog bark uncontrollably. I knew my parents would be mad at me for being up so late on a school night, and even more so waking them up. But before I could make it to the door my dad was rushing out of the house with his gun pointed right at me locked and loaded. If I had yelled “Dad, it’s me!” He probably would have shot first and asked questions later, I probably wouldn’t be writing this now had he shot. So when I see people fighting for gun rights, or see stories like this I just think of what almost happen to me….

    • But I am sure the guy mistook those white envelops in his hand as a gun, yeah that’s the ticket, a gun in the old mans hands,and the Paranoid Gun Nut lost his cool and took an innocent life. How pathetic.

  16. Another case of Stand Your Ground being used as a tool for legalized murder of someone who is not a threat in any way towards the fearful and dangerous man with his penis extension. Don’t fool yourself either, these people have no conscience, only the knowledge that they now can kill legally, and get away with near any murder, just claim Stand Your Ground. And these are they same people who falesly charge that the Affordable Care Act will have death panels. We don’t need them as every one of these gun nuts is a walking death panel, ready to pass judgement on any other human being that they don’t like. Just claim you were in fear for your life and presto, you too will have killed another human being for no good reason and successfully gotten away with it ! Ain’t life great here in the GOP States of America!?! Get used to it cause it’s coming soon to a state near you!

  17. Hmmmm “”””” wandering for up to four hours with his dog, wearing only a light jacket and straw hat in freezing temperatures.”””””” Interesting how in GEORGIA burglars and house breakers do not dress for the weather, AND TAKE THEIR DOG WITH THEM!?!?!?! It also says he was walking away ………… so how did he get shot in the chest ??????? I hope the family sues in civil court!!!!!! These dumber than SH-T laws have got to GO !?!?!?!

  18. An elderly man with Alzheimer’s? Really?? Let’s just call this BS what it is. These gun owners are not going to be content with their guns being in the cabinet unused. A person who buys a toy wants to play with it. They are itching for any excuse no matter how unreasonable, to fire that weapon. By the time they go to these gun shows, spend hours in target practice, and probably more hours obsessing about using them, they have built up a fantasy around it until it’s only a matter of time. The same with the cops who are shooting people for nothing, like the man walking toward them after a car wreck and countless other unnecessary uses of lethal force. SHAME ON THEM ALL, they are neanderthals who don’t deserve to own a weapon! They are no better than a common criminal in fact they sometimes seem more stupid and sociopathic. How much will we put up with!!?

    • How much? Unfortunately too much and continuously because no one will stand up the NRA.

    • does your comment go for everyone that owns guns or is it something that you think. everyone that I know that owns guns are responsible in the use and carry of any guns .

      • Really? I own guns to hunt and for home defense…but I’d never shoot an elderly man, even at 4am….why do you ask? Because I actually realize that if someone knocks at my door or rings my doorbell the obvious thing to do is turn on the porch light, see who is there and if I have reason to from that point, call 911…I live in the country about 10 to 15 miles from where this occurred….no outdoor lights EXCEPT porch lights…but I’d never just grab my gun and go out looking for a fight (which is what Joe Hendrix, the renter did in a well lit subdivision, I know this for a fact I’ve been there to visit relatives)…regulation is not a foul concept, shooting someone to death is….especially when there was no reason to do so.

  19. If a cop has to use physical force to to subdue a suspect is that wrong? Of course not. Does that mean it was okay to beat the crap out of Rodney King? Of course not. Do we tell all officers everywhere they can no longer use a night stick or do we make the abusers of a common sense law accountable for their own actions. It is wrong of the article to say say man shot for no reason though. The article clearly says the shooter repeatable told the victim to stop. Bear in mind this was 4:00 in the morning and the victim had been trying to get in the house. I too would had been scared and on edge. The shooter was in the wrong though he should have stayed in the house. SYG is to enable you to DEFEND yourself not attack another. I do feel it is wrong to accuse the shooter of deliberately intending to shoot the first moving target he sees though. It wasn’t like he was sitting on his front porch saying ” HEY YOU STOP LEANING ON MY FENCE….. BANG BANG BANG TAKE THAT YOU OLD GEEZER” Like the article said it was 4 in the morning and the shooter thought someone was trying to break into his house. I don’t believe his intent was to go murder someone I believe it was a mistake unfortunately an innocent man was killed and the shooter should be made accountable for his abuse of a common sense law

    • Okay, Don, I had to read your comment a couple of times because it seemed to be all over the place but I think that generally speaking you were not trying to defend Hendrix which is what I thought at first.

      In a real sense he did not actually stand his ground, when he left the house he was actually advancing on Mr. Westbrook and there was no need to do so, nor can he truly justify it. He had a gun, the door was locked and the police were on the way. He and his fiancee were in no danger even if it had been someone attempting to break in, with his gun in hand he was prepared if he came through the door.

      As far as telling Westbrook to stop several times that is not a real defense either, there was a very good reason Mr. Westbrook didn’t respond — his condition is that reason. Have you ever known someone close who you spent a great deal of time with who had Alzheimer’s? My father had it and I can tell you, as will any doctor, that in an advanced stage of the disease, which was the case here, they do not respond immediately, they are slow to respond to verbal communications and Hendrix did not wait, he just opened fire.

      As I said in the article, just because you have the right to do something that does not mean that it is the right thing to do, and in this case Hendrix did not do the right thing — more than once. The right thing to do was to stay in the house and wait for the police, he didn’t. The right thing to do after he went outside was to stay out of sight and watch and again, wait for the police, and again he didn’t. When Mr. Westbrook did not respond immediately the right thing to do was to wait until he could see him clearly enough to ascertain whether or not he truly was a threat, and still he did not.

      He may have done the legal thing but it was not the right thing and I hope that it eats away at him for the rest of his life.

      • Eating away at him is useless if he learns nothing from it Bob, but I agree with what you wrote. The fact is, both these men are victims of the NRA, the Security State, and the Fear Mongering politicians supported by the Tea Party

  20. I think its premature to say that this incident has anything to do with Georgia’s self-defense laws. Hendrix hasn’t been charged with any crime – yet. All of the “SYG” laws, which exist in nearly all states either statutorily or buried in jury instructions (such as in California) specifically state that use of deadly force is justified when someone has a REASONABLE fear of impending death or injury.

    Hoyt Hilsman is a dingbat.

    • That’s nonsense, Stand your grounds enable people with no judgement or ability to judge the severity of a situation to MURDER people and claim self defense. Your response is simply an attempt to justify a gun culture that is turning the country into an armed encampment of fearful people.

    • i don’t think being confronted by an old man bringing your post gives you a reasonable fear of impending death or injury, and if he was in fear why lock the door to the house behind you

  21. How much does murder cost these days?

  22. When it can cost $5000 a month for 24/7/365 mental care in a facility that can be trusted, MOST families can not afford the cost .. and they try and do it using the excuse that “they will be more comfortable at home.” They have no memory of home! I went through this with my Mother and now am seeing it happen with my Sister in Law. That is one side of this tragic story .. the other, of course, is STUPID GUN LAWS .. but there is a third side .. the cutbacks in police forces in so many cities that greatly effect their training, response time and the ability to “protect and serve”.

  23. Joe Hendrix done nothing illegal in shooting this man? A 72 year old man caused a 34 year old man to fear for his life simply by walking towards him, no weapon in sight. What gives Joe more rights than a police officer? If this isn’t a case of excessive force, what is.

  24. He was killed at 4 in the morning, Shanon, so his wife was probably sleeping when he left the house. Since she discovered him missing at about the time that he was killed she had probably just awoke to find him missing. You can’t watch them 24/7 and they do wander off. My father had Alzheimer’s and he once took the car and left, my mother discovered it right away and it still took more than four hours to find him even with the police looking as well as the whole family. We live just south of Rochester, NY and he turned up finally in Syracuse, he had gone to “visit” my sister who lived in Toronto at the time, he had knocked on a door in Syracuse to get directions to her street, he thought he was in Toronto.

  25. I’ve been accused on several occasions in debates with gun nuts that when the Sh*t hits the fan, those of us without guns will be cowering in the dark. The guy with a gun was SO scared of a little old man he had to go shoot him. Really. These people live in fear. He’s going to have to live with the fact he killed someone with Alzheimer’s. I wonder which is worse, fear or guilt.

  26. SARCASM
    (I am sure the folks Down at the Gun range and at all the shops and stores in Ooltewah Ga are going to heap mountains of Praise on Ronald Westbrook for being such a good shot and taking out an unarmed old man with dementia . And old Ron can’t wait to be telling this story at his place of employment on MONDAY morning and will be begged to tell the harrowing series of events around the camp fire at the Deer camp lease for many years to come………)
    End SARCASM .

    The armed and ready crowd will have us believe “WHEN SECONDS COUNT THE POLICE ARE MINUTES AWAY” And yes that is very true.

    Now this man is going to find out that each one of these SECONDS will take on a life time of their own .In His own thoughts and the way others think about him .
    He may not be charged or spend one day in jail But court of Public opinion ?
    In Small town Ooltewah Ga ?
    .He shot somebody’s Grandpa !

    .

  27. So with the Stand Your Ground law, you can order a deaf person to stop moving towards you and then shoot them because they didn’t.

  28. Such a shame; I lost my grandma to this disease, and yes, people can wander around. One time, she had gotten lost going from the porch of the home my aunt lived in, since she cared for her, to the trash can out front. She had sat down on the porch of the house next door. This was in Detroit, mind you, so thank goodness there was no gun-nut living next door! The more important thing is that she didn’t wander any further! The man should’ve at least put more effort into seeing exactly who it was, and stayed inside.

  29. Unfortunately these occurrences are becoming all too common. Once again a homeowner doesn’t wait for police, they take matters into their own hands. Where is the common sense with these “Stand your ground laws”. We are becoming a nation of shoot first, ask questions later. And where was the family of this elderly gentleman not to notice he was missing for four hours along with the dog? He had Alzeheimer’s so you would think they would have been keeping check on him more often than four hour intervals. The whole situation is sad and two families are devastated and the victim, a man who thought he was home and just wanted to come in out of the cold.

  30. You know the family is gearing up to ruin this man’s finances in civil court. If they can’t put him behind bars, and least they can throw him into DEEP, DEEP debt.

    • And he deserves it, take a mans life and expect yours to be ruined as well. its the way a NORMAL society deals with this sort of thing.

  31. The people in these states seem to focus on the true intent of the law without having any concerns about the unintended consequences such as this. Yes, if you are attacked in your home by a criminal, then you should be allowed to use lethal force against them, but it seems that these laws are ambiguous and allow you to kill anyone that you “feel” is a threat to your safety. Those gray areas a little too broad for my comfort.

    • Rob, coming from someone who fully supports the second amendment, believes that you should be able to use lethal force on someone who breaks into your home, or even in the case of assault in a public place I STILL agree on that. Something like this needs more definition. Laws that give you the right to take another person’s life need to have more clarity, The other side of that coin is if they do that they will more than likely try to take away that right all together and THAT is something I do not agree with. So to sum it up : Yes a person should have the right to defend themselves and use lethal force if deemed necessary, and yes there should be something on the books about whether it was deemed necessary. As far as this situation goes certain factors need to be looked at. If the man did not respond when he was told to stop moving how would the homeowner know his intent? How well could the homeowner see the man approaching him. It said his porch light was on, but how bright is that light, and were the street lights on. (I have not been in a neighborhood yet where the street lights did not turn off and back on several times a night. Not sure if that is for energy conservation, bulb life conservation, or both) What type of dog was it? Was it a large dog? Did the dog seem aggressive? There are a lot of things we don’t know, there are a lot of things we will never know, and there are a lot of things that need to be uncovered in this investigation which is ongoing. No assumptions can be made at this point. I DO however still agree that while SYG needs to stay in place it should be more clearly defined.

      • So…what part of “Stay in your fucking house, with the door locked, at 4AM, with your .40 caliber handcannon ready; the police are on their way.” has you confused?

        Second Amendment my ass!

        • It is HIS home, I would have opened the fucking door too. Wouldn’t want someone who could potentially be a burglar or rapist to come around to a window and catch me by surprise. I’d rather face them. Again you don’t know what happened, you don’t know what went through his head, you have no fucking idea, and until you do you cannot make judgements on what needs to happen with that man’s life. It is for the police and courts to decide. Piss off you ignorant prick. Oh as far as the second amendment goes you better get used to it, because it is not going anywhere.

          • He didn’t open the door, Shaun, he used another door and came around the house. How many burglars would ring the doorbell? He could have remained perfectly safe in his house, the police were on the way. I can’t imagine what kind of low life one must be to defend this man’s actions.

      • in a comment above there is a guy who lives there and said the area was well lit, in a subdivision. So, this pea brained cretin decided that an old guy holding mail was too dangerous for him to wait for the cops, AND the old fella was leaving when the renter came out and shot him 4 times…sorry to say this to ya…but this is BS from the shooter. I live in a community with several elderly people like the victim here and if they wander off..they ring doorbells at all sorts of hours..am I going to shoot one because he or she is rattling my doorknob? NO..I am not going to shoot anyone..and this jack wagon should have waited as instructed instead of pulling a Zimmerman.

  32. Revolting chickenshits doing whatever they can get away with… They should stop by a supermarket and pick up a bag of guts if that have to use others as target practice due to their quivering fearfulness.

  33. What a sickening story. What has happened to us that we feel “threatened” by an old man and his dog? Unintended consequences of laws and regulations is certainly nothing new, but Stand Your Ground laws will go down in history as one of the worst mistakes ever made.

  34. That sorry ass m.f best be glad it wasnt my family member,i would make him suffer before i kill him,i so sick of these rich people making the laws,ALEC the people who stand behind this will burn in hell with hitler,willie lynch and all the other evil murderous bastards before hem.

  35. how very, very sad. i will save any, what could be considered, “politically tinged” comments and leave it at that, just very, very sad.

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