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In this photo provided by The Bakersfield Californian, Rubia Serna is consoled by her sons Jesse Serna, right, and Frank Serna at the candlelight vigil for Francisco Serna, 73, her husband and their father, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, in Bakersfield, Calif.   (Felix Adamo/The Bakersfield Californian via AP)

Police killed a man who neighbors thought had a gun in his pocket. It was a crucifix.

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I don't know what led police to believe he had a gun.
Frank Serna, Francisco's son

Police shot and killed Francisco Serna, 73, after neighbors reported that he brandished a gun at them.

But police only found a large crucifix on Serna after the shooting, USA Today reports

Serna suffered from dementia, his son Frank told our partners at KBAK.  Serna "opposed firearms" and did not own one, the son said.

The details

Early Monday morning, one of Serna's neighbors saw him standing behind her with his hand hidden inside his jacket. Serna demanded that she let him look inside her car. 

The neighbor saw a "dark brown or black-handled object" she thought was a gun, and told her husband to call police. He told 911 that Serna had a revolver. 

When police arrived, Serna's hand was still in his jacket. Officers told him to show his hands. He didn't comply and was shot seven times.

BPD [Bakersfield Police Department] murdered my father for no reason.
Lauren Serna, Francisco's daughter

The role of dementia

Frank Serna said his father often went on walks when he had trouble sleeping, to make himself more tired.  


Beth Kallmyer, the Alzheimer's Association vice president of constituent services, said dementia patients often get lost or confused when out on walks. 

Police killed a man who neighbors thought had a gun in his pocket. It was a crucifix.

WATCH  | Serna's family was outraged at the shooting, demanding that police be held accountable. The Bakersfield Police Department is listed as one of the deadliest in the United States by Mapping Police Violence.

Bakersfield shooting 2.jpg
In this photo provided by The Bakersfield Californian, activist Dolores Huerta, center, speaks at a candlelight vigil for Francisco Serna, 73, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, in Bakersfield, Calif. From right are Serna's son Frank Serna, wife Rubia Serna and son Roy Serna. Serna was shot and killed by a Bakersfield, Calif., police officer near his home early Monday. Police Chief Lyle Martin said Tuesday that the unarmed Serna refused to take his hand out of his pocket when he was shot by an officer who thought he had a gun. Serna's family said he suffers from dementia and he often took walks in the evening. (Felix Adamo/The Bakersfield Californian via AP)

The family held a candlelight vigil Tuesday night outside Serna's home. 

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