Police Kill 95-Year-Old Veteran

Family members are questioning the death of 95-year-old WWII U.S. Air Corps sergeant John Wrana who was killed at an assisted living center last month after resisting medical treatment. The elderly veteran, allegedly frail and in need of a walker, sustained blunt force injuries after being tased and shot with bean bag rounds by Park Forest, Illinois police after denying medical attention and allegedly threatening hospital personnel.

The details of the encounter are disputed. One report states that Wrana waved a kitchen knife; others claim that he merely tried to fend off medical personnel with a cane. Regardless, it is a shame that that police used forceful tactics to subdue him, ultimately leading to fatal internal bleeding. It is highly unlikely that the brutality was warranted.

Wrana's family is demanding answers, and the Illinois state police are conducting an investigation but have refused to comment. "I want answers," Wrana's stepdaughter told reporters. "I want someone held accountable."

The family lawyer stated that police used riot shields to enter his room before shooting bean-bag rounds at Wrana as he was seated in a chair, painting the picture of an incredibly violent scene one would hardly expect to take place given the nature of the conflict and condition of the elderly man.


"The Japanese military couldn't get him at the age he was touchable, in a uniform in the war. It took 70 years later for the Park Forest police to do the job," Wrana's family attorney, Nicholas Grapsas, told reporters.

Wrana was described by family members as a bright and vibrant war hero who simply didn't wish to be pushed around in the moment. Family members spoke fondly of his latest years, saying, "He was a very vital 95-year-old, let me tell you. He still played cards. He taught the 70-year-olds how to play gin rummy."

While the police action took place under the guise of an imminent threat to staff at the facility, Maria Olivia, an official at the Pathway Senior Living, told reporters the staff was kept out of the room after police arrived and did not feel threatened. "The staff was not inside once the police were on the scene," she explained, putting the degree of force used against the elderly man further into question.

The skirmish seems indicative of unnecessary police violence that should not be excused, particularly given the frailty of the veteran. The hope is that the incident will be gain deserved shock and attention and continue on to be properly investigated such that those responsible will be held accountable.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Rachel George

Rachel is a PhD candidate in International Relations at the London School of Economics. She holds a BA in Politics from Princeton and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard. Her interests include journalism, U.S. foreign policy, human rights, and international law.

MORE FROM

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.

American Health Care Act by the numbers: What to know about Senate Republicans' secret health plan

After drafting the ACA repeal and replace plan behind closed doors, the AHCA is out — and Senate Republican leaders are hoping to vote on it in a week.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.

American Health Care Act by the numbers: What to know about Senate Republicans' secret health plan

After drafting the ACA repeal and replace plan behind closed doors, the AHCA is out — and Senate Republican leaders are hoping to vote on it in a week.