What do you do when you believe someone is trying to break into your house? Call the police. And that’s exactly what 83-year old Delma Towler did when she suspected a burglary at her Altavista home late one night a few weeks ago. What happened when the officer responded was a tragic and disturbing incident that is still not fully explained.
Before the end of the night, Towler would be dead, shot by an Altavista police officer responding to her home. The details are a little hazy—after all, only Towler and the officer were there and the police department obviously isn’t talking.
According to WDBJ-7, Towler owned a weapon and was walking around her home after calling the police. She was in the backyard and “may have fired a gunshot through her back door.” Then, she began walking towards her sister’s home, who lived two doors down. Before she was able to enter the home of her sister, she would be shot.
Her family’s shock is an indication that Towler likely wasn’t trying to ambush the police with her gun. This wasn’t likely a case of a granny-gone-mad. Instead, we can only guess at what happened.
Perhaps Towler went outside believing someone had already gained entry into her home, and that’s why she shot at the house. Maybe, the shot that left her gun was an accident, discharged when she went outside to scare the potential burglar away. But what begs even more questions is the shot that killed her.
Did the officer not see the person trying to get refuge on her sister’s porch was a grey-haired lady? Did he not know the identity or even the gender and approximate age of the person who called 911? Did he shout to her—asking her to put down the gun or asking her who she was?
It would seem that a frightened 83-year old woman would comply with the demands of an officer in a situation like this—did he make any demands?
When we call the police, we expect them to come and help us. Too frequently, however, we hear of officers responding and leaving a bigger mess behind them. While police-shootings are rare, arrests are not. And one ambitious officer could walk into a situation that would otherwise be diffused with discussion, and place cuffs on multiple parties.
If you’ve been arrested for something like burglary, or a domestic violence incident that the cop got wrong—we may be able to help. Too frequently, officers are not held accountable for their questionable acts. With a local defense attorney on your side, you can help ensure the truth will come out.
- POLICE BRUTALITY: 83-year-old grandmother calls 911, police arrive and shoot her three times, dead