Police Check on Veteran After Heart Surgery but End Up Killing Him (VIDEO)

A veteran is dead after being shot by police who went to his home on a welfare check. Seventy-four-year-old Army veteran James Allen had heart surgery last week, and when his family in another county couldn't reach him, they asked police to check on him. That's when things went terribly wrong.

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Police say when they first arrived at the house in Gastonia, North Carolina, they knocked but no one answered. An hour later, they went to the back door and forced their way in. That's apparently when Allen greeted them with a gun. A police officer killed him.

A family member speculates that Allen, disoriented, heard someone breaking into his back door and grabbed a gun to protect himself. Police say they made many announcements that they were police and to drop the weapon.

Family, however, are shocked, saying the elderly man "wouldn't hurt a fly." The officer who shot him has been placed on administrative duty.

Sounds like a horrible tragedy all the way around. Allen was probably shocked and afraid to see people standing in his home. On the other hand, would he not have recognized policeman attire? Was he confused from the operation and his recovery?

Only the people who were there know what happened, but it seems a shame that the very people who went there to help him ended up killing him. I'm sure that is not what the police wanted either.

This is the thing about guns: they can be for protection, but you don't always know what you're protecting yourself from. There have been news stories of people shooting their own relatives, people shooting innocents who came to their door looking for help. It's not always easy to know who is a threat and who isn't.

It's just too bad this had to happen and Allen's family must be devastated.

What do you think happened?

Image via WSOC

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