According to Lieutenant David Price, Arkansas' Pine Bluff Police Department received a call Saturday night about an aggravated assault taking place at a private residence. Normally this wouldn't have been anything out of the ordinary, except that police found the aggressor to be 107-year-old Monroe Isadore. After calling in the whole 9 yards — SWAT team, negotiators, gas pumps — the night ended with police killing Isadore.
Should the the special circumstances of this situation, namely that the aggressor was extremely elderly, have warranted that police handle the issue differently and potentially risk a different outcome? Most would answer with a resounding no.
While this may seem like a harsh perspective on its face, the course of events throughout the night lead us to believe that the police were justified in their defense. When the officers first arrived at the residence, Prince stated that two people told them that Isadore had threatened them with a gun.
When officers announced their presence outside the bedroom Isadore retreated to, he fired through the door and at the police.
As officers moved to a safer location, they again followed protocol and called for backup. SWAT correspondingly attempted to negotiate with Isadore, but he refused to cooperate. KARK reported that the team also confirmed the weapon (a handgun) by slipping a camera inside the room.
Further negotiations still proved useless, and SWAT began to use forceful means, escalating the intensity of the situation. Officers "pumped gas into the room," inciting Isadore to allegedly start shooting at the SWAT team through the window, although the hope was that he would at this point surrender peacefully.
In their final show, officers knocked down the door to the bedroom. In response to Isadore's subsequent shooting, SWAT members retaliated, killing the centenarian.
As far as issues of justified action go, there is little debate as to whether police exhausted all their options before resorting to more extreme measures. However, what initially prompted the incident and its escalaton is still under investigation by the Pine Bluff police department. According to the information gathered thus far, Isadore was treated with the same level of respect and due process as any other suspect in that situation would have received. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the confrontation, police had no choice but to act defensively when faced with an armed assailant.