Family Asks Police to Check on 74-Year-Old Vet After Surgery, They Break In and Kill Him
Police officers in North Carolina performing a welfare check fatally shot a 74-year-old veteran.
On Sunday, Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton held a press conference, telling reporters that family members asked police to check on James Howard Allen after the vet underwent surgery.
Helton said that an officer came to Allen’s home at 10:20 pm on Saturday but no one answered the door. After contacting the Fire Department and Medical Services at 11:30, Helton said a “decision was made to enter the house, concerned that he may be inside in need of emergency assistance.”
Helton explained that Officer Josh Lefevers announced that he was going through the backdoor but found Allen inside pointing a gun at officers.
“He was challenged to lower the gun down,” Helton said. “The gun was pointed in the direction of the officers, and a shot was fired that fatally wounded him.”
Allen’s family slammed the officers’ actions.
“(He) probably woke up, someone’s breaking in on me, so when you’re by yourself you try to protect yourself,” Robert Battle, the victim’s brother-in-law, told WSOC.
Allen’s friend Otis Thompson said his instinct would have been to “grab a gun too… You kicked the man’s door in. He’s disoriented and he’s in his own house, privacy of his own home.”
The North Carolina Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting.