Tuesday, September 10, 2013

TOP STORY >> Record set in killing of PB senior

Leader editor

Monroe Isadore was 107 years old when he was gunned down by Pine Bluff police officers in his home Saturday afternoon. He’s probably the oldest man to die with a gun in his hand with bullets coming at him from people who are supposed to serve and protect.

He’d bought the gun just a few weeks ago, according to his caretaker, who called police after Isadore told her he was going to kill someone if she didn’t leave the house.

Other witnesses said Isadore threatened to shoot if he was forcibly removed to another home. His caretaker and granddaughter got out of the house, but when the police showed up, Isadore started shooting at them. Since he couldn’t see, that’s doubtful.

But the cops stormed in, claiming they had to put the old man down because Isadore was too dangerous.

Why not wait till he had to go to the bathroom or until he ran out of ammunition? Why not wait till he fell asleep? Or send over some catfish and beer?

Isadore said he’d bought the gun for his own protection, and who can blame him? Living down there in Pine Bluff, where gunfire is part of the background noise, like dogs barking and tires screeching, you better protect yourself because the police won’t.

Worse, they’ll kill you even if you can’t hear them and your mind is a blur from all the gun noise you hear living in Pine Bluff.

It’s not as if the police in Pine Bluff, the murder capital of the South, don’t have experience with violence. There are shootouts every day. They should have figured out how to disarm an old geezer and tell him everything was going to be all right.

Pine Bluff is a dangerous place, but the cops couldn’t convince an old man to put his gun down? Sure, he was probably deaf and had Alzheimer’s since he was in his 90s, but couldn’t the cops have waited out the standoff? He wasn’t a 20-year-old crackhead too doped up to give himself up.

If you can’t arrest the crack dealers, go after centenarians with Alzheimer’s.

Interim Police Chief Jeff Hubanks, who was at the scene, said later, “Three victims reported they had been aggressed by a gentleman with a handgun.” A 107-year-old gentleman, no less, who was born when the U.S. was still fighting the First World War.

Hubanks must have known Isadore was old, even if he didn’t realize he was probably the oldest man in Arkansas.

Hubanks could have called Cabot Police Chief Jackie Davis, who would have told him, “Be patient.” That was his reaction when we asked him how he would have handled the showdown.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Kyle Hunter was outside the home with Hubanks and the police. You’d think Hunter would have advised caution so the standoff would have ended peacefully a few hours later.

Now Hunter is supposed to investigate the incident, but he’s not exactly an impartial observer since he was at the scene and should have told the cops to cool it.

Hunter will probably issue his report in a few weeks, but an independent review is needed to explain this tragedy.

How about hiring Lonoke County Prosecutor Chuck Graham, whose jurisdiction adjoins Jefferson County? He’s an impartial lawman and a class act. If anyone can, he’d make sense of this tragedy and bring charges against any wrongdoers.

We could give Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth his direct phone number if she can’t find it.