Confused, retired Lt. Colonel Ronald Westbrook knocked on the wrong door one early morning.
Deanne Westbrook did everything she could to keep her husband of 51 years safe. She installed alarms on the doors; she was looking for more help as his Alzheimer’s progressed. A former nurse who was experienced with dementia, Mrs. Westbrook was better equipped than most to deal with her husband’s disease.
But things happen, and on December 7 around 1 a.m. Mr. Westbrook wandered out of the Georgia couple’s home and wandered alone, cold and confused. Around 2 a.m. he told a passing police officer that he was gathering mail. The 72 year-old came to the home of Joe Hendrix’s fiancee around 4 a.m., where he knocked repeatedly on the door. Hendrix grabbed his pistol, and allegedly shot and killed the confused man.
An Associated Press article published in USA Today about the tragedy notes that there’s more to the story:
An incident in mid-November may have set the stage for the fatal error. Shortly after Hendrix’s fiancee moved into her new rental home, a man appeared at the door just before midnight on Nov. 19. He pounded on the door while Hendrix’s fiancee was alone with two children, and he demanded to see someone whom Hendrix’s fiancee did not know.
After that, Hendrix moved his Glock pistol into the house, and a week later Westbrook happened along. You can read the full story here.
— photo David Goldman / AP