95 year old WWII veteran killed after being tased and shot by police

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95 year old WWII veteran killed after being tased and shot by police

Greetings from Sturgis, SD on a delightful day which is blemished only by this story which has me fairly furious:

When John Wrana was a young man, fit and strong and fighting in World War II with the U.S. Army Air Corps, did he ever think he'd end this way?

Just a few weeks shy of his 96th birthday, in need of a walker to move about, cops coming through the door of his retirement home with a Taser and a shotgun. 

The old man, described by a family member as "wobbly" on his feet, had refused medical attention. The paramedics were called. They brought in the Park Forest police.

First they tased him, but that didn't work. So they fired a shotgun, hitting him in the stomach with a bean-bag round. Wrana was struck with such force that he bled to death internally, according to the Cook County medical examiner.

"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, a former prosecutor, said in an interview with me Thursday.

Wow.  I'm sure there is another side to this, but I'm hard pressed to imagine a series of events that somehow results in (NOT SWAT, my apologies, a different version had stated that) police officers with shields storming into a 95 year old man's room and shooting him while he sat in his chair.  There clearly wasn't an iminent threat, couldn't they just have waited him out?  The home didn't want them storming in there.  And what is the charge for resisting medical attention?  Even if he was some sort of threat to other residents (which he clearly wasn't at the time he was in his chair) couldn't they have used some other means of restraining him?  He had a walker....

Here's video from the Chicago Tribune of the reporter who spoke with the attorney.


The picture above is him with his wife in 2005.  Helen Wrana passed later that year.  The only positive that I can see in any of this is that now he is by her side again.  But just so sad.

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good on ya mate!

Hey, I'm a 77 year old Korean War [excuse me] a korean Police Action vet and you can call on me.

Totally un-necessary Use of Force against this man, John Wrana. In all my years(37 so far) in LE & Corrections, I've never seen such an egregious use of force. We're trained(or should be) to use what is called 'verbal judo' to avoid or at least reduce these types of situations happening. A 95 yr old man with a cane and a metal shoehorn? Come on..! I'm 62 and could easily overcome that! And where is/was the alleged 'butcher knife' which seems to have never made it into evidence? Any time there is a death like this ALL the evidence to 'justify' use of force, deadly or not should have been collected--that it hasn't so far shown up makes me doubt the story of the officers, even makes me doubt that they should have been called in the first place. Mr. Wrana HAS a right to refuse medication and the fact that the residence staff were unable to handle what should have been almost an everyday occurrence in such a facility makes me wonder at their competence also. I support fellow officers when they're right, but when they screw up, don't follow established procedures/protocol or use common sense, they need to pay the price.

Hey, this is the Chicago area. What do you want the police to be doing? I suppose some of you think they should be out after the gang bangers.

his is very Sad. Is this how we treat Our Senior Citizen Veterans. This Man was living History and a Survivor of WWII, heads should roll and people responsible should pay dearly for there actions. This is a horrible tragedy. As a certified trainer of the PR24 expandable baton, I know for a fact, even if the Gentlemen was armed with a knife police are adequately trained to handle this situation. There actions with a taser and shotgun bean bag should constitute negligent homicide.

I'm 87 and if a young or middle aged cop can't out run me he should be retired before he hurts himself

There is no reason one man couldn't have overcome a 96 year old man who needed a walker even to get around. He had every right to refuse medication, but the most this should have brought about was a call to his doctor or his next of kin. There was NO excuse for SWAT even to be called, much less the use of a Tazer and a Bean Bag Shotgun.

What action is taking place action the police - It should be very hard to claim this as justified.

I don't care if he had a M60 in his lap and a bayonet in his teeth he was 96 years old the cops were just following some stupid procedures and they can't or won't think for themselves because the pols, that they report to don't want to be embarrassed, so they lay down rules that are designed to keep them out of the problem and allow them to say that the ( city, town, locale you fill in the blank ) is not responsible.
This hero needed to be handled as if he was the grandfather of each of the officers responding. This was the same mentally that was present in the youtube video of the active duty sgt. disarmed illegally.

I honestly believe that it is the NEW POLICYS being implemented of a complete parinoia society, where the police are taught a new level of restraint. If you could measure it from 15 years ago being 15 years ago was a 10, today it is at about 3. Its just like the way things happen with a handicap person at an airport security. Look up on Google, unbelievable. These things NEVER happened years ago. SOOOO the responsibility is with the individual officer who has to stand before his Creator without excuse. I am a father who raised 5 children and have ALWAYS known am WILL be accountable for what I do and sometimes for what I DONT do. Taken all the truth of the whole incident which can be seen from a dozen angles, the individual police officer WILL be accountable. Not IF but when

PDs in tis country are becoming more and more militarized. This is the end result. They don't walk beats any more and sit in isolation in their patrol cars, away from the public, fostering an "us vs. them" mentality. I know whatof I speak. 27 years' service in the US military and federal law enforcement. You don't shoot a 95-year-old man with ANYTHING. Isolate him and let the steam blow off. Get the staff (probably shrieking and screaming) out of earshot. Gently restrain him when you can and possibly sedate. This man was great-grandfather age. My God, why do you shoot someone who is 95 years old with ANYTHING? Is the Park Forest PD so out of shape this guy could kick their a--es? Sue the hell out of the PD, and the Mayor and City (the PD is an agent of local govt, hence they are ultimately responsible) and make sure this gets national attention. Embarass the hell out of them, they deserve it. Bring the VFW and American Legion in on this as well. Have the entire PD attend stress management classes and find out what the hell has them wound up so tight. Come down HARD on management, more than the line officers. Someone had to give the order to shoot. They should be charged criminally - 2nd degree murder is appropriate. Get used to it, folks - we already murder the unborn by the million, why should we be surprised when those at the opposite end of life are treated this way? There'll be a lot more of this in future.

Where was the staff of the place he was living , and what kind o training did they have? When I was working as a nurse one of the things taught was how to handle a person who was being difficult. I thought the police also had the training to work with people like this, or is this just the officers not wanting to put in the time and effort to reach the man. Talk about over kill, tazerd him and then bean bagged him. A body at his age could not protect him, and the police should be charged for his death.

My 2 year old grandson could have restrained the 95 year old man. I can't believe they had to use that much force. A much younger and quicker person should have no problem grabbing and restraining a 95 year old man that could just about walk or move. My God What was he doing that was so threatening? did he have a gun or a bomb?

Man, what a farce. I think the Native Americans had it right. This was not a good day to die. Imagine living this long and being a veteran American, only to have the end be so disrepectful. I think the best thing to do is just go out into a deep forest, if you can find one left and just lay down and die. Better to stay away from retirment homes, which really, as it turns out, is not all that safe. God Bless you John and I salute you.

Is this what happens in a police state when one does not want medical care? This is over the top! A WWII combat veteran is not a dangerous terrorist!! These police should be relieved of duty, charged, tried and punished to the limit of the law.

Robert Miller - That was very succinctly stated. I completely agree. It up to us to right the wrong - not depend on self-serving politicians, a self-serving government or flimsy chief executive. When I was a Soldier, I was trained to escalate force only when the situation required me to defend myself, my brothers, noncombatants or other mission-critical assets. You meet an opposing force with just enough force to quickly & decisively end the conflict. End of debate. What those cops did was akin to shooting a solitary enemy combatant with an M1A2 Abrams Tank. Their actions were disproportionate. This senseless and negligent killing of Mr. Wrana makes me sick. I agree with everyone's profound & sage advice that this isn't the same country it once was. Yes, even Mayberry has its unsavory, modern-day afflictions, but we don’t have to allow it to grow like a cancer.

So, as I reflect back on the day I was sworn into the Army, I recall the blank check I wrote. Payment included giving my life for my country. Now, I've changed my tune. I hereby rescind that and replace it with willingness to only bleed for my country, which I have done and would again. Would I die for it now? Nope. It doesn’t deserve such a disproportionate reward. Now I die only for my brothers - not for a country with cops who would do such an injustice and certainly not for ANY politician who defends the takers of that precious man's life.

it has come to a point to o lot of police just being crooks with badges. it's a shame that this could happen to a 95 year old vet.

Bad beyond any possible comment.

Maybe instead of using taxpayer dollars for bean bag guns they should have sent the officers through non-violent crisis intervention training. Surely if this training is suitable for teachers dealing with children it would
work on a 95 yr old man

I made my comment above I don't know why it's not posting>

This is what you get when Congress blocks adding public sector jobs ie police fireman etc.. overworked underpaid bottom of the totem pole cherries who don't know how to interact with public all they know is diffuse by any means necessary, clowns one and all

More proof the police are nothing more than unfeeling bullies and are using their "power" to control our everyday lives. He was tased for refusing medical treatment? What idiots! This case is worse than the fawn in a shelter that was killed by thirteen SWAT officers. If we don't wake up and take back our country, "1984" will be on us before we realize it.

At 95 years of age this man posed such a threat that they felt it necessary to use such force? What did he have; his hand on a detonator? They ought to be ashamed that they could not use other means to subdue, better yet, wait out such a person. I am sure they have a "war story" to tell their buddies next time they go and "bend their elbows" about the imminent threat they had facing down this WWII vet.

This indeed, is one of the most serious and greatest examples of an act involving a travesty of justice, that my reading eyes have had to unfortunately take notice of, as this horrific example of one of our "brothers in Arms [a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces]"; should have to meet his demise, in his own nation, by his own fellow Americans; in a non-war setting, gives credence to the sheer stupidity, exercise of poor judgment and the lack of respect for the choices that we choose to make (wise or unwise), by other Americans!

To fatally shoot a 95 year old man, with partially restricted, physical mobility, not threatening other people, and exercising his VOLUNTARY RIGHT to refuse medical treatment is unconscionable, criminal, inexcusable, and clearly unjustified! The individuals implicated and responsible for this heinous crime must be promptly brought into criminal court, put on trial, and fully prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law! This unwarranted, committed act against an individual who served his country loyally would, and did indeed, lose his life in a humiliated manner at the hands of his own nation's civil authorities; is infuriating to many other conscionable and concerned veterans, and that they see "one of their own fallen" like a common criminal (that he was NOT), prompts us to not only bring speedy retribution against the guilty offenders, but to also greatly question, curtail, and deny civil authorities' powers to intervene in any potential, future act of the aforementioned tragedy.

These idiots should be walking a beat watching garage dumsters. They should be made to his funeral. They need brain transplants.

As a former Marine I'm totally disgusted with some of the ways these pieces of amphibious floating vile can wear uniform and ask us to obey the law the way they suppose to do so only to show how f cking stupid they look and are for a horrible police tactic. YOU SO CALL OFFICERS NEED TO BE FIRED, TRIED AND PUT IN JAIL FOR LIFE SO YOU THINK ABOUT IT FOR REST OF YOUR BECAUSE IN MY EYES YOUR ALL GUILTY.

Thank God this was not my Dad. If it had been there would have been some policemen in hell before the Good LORD let the Sun Rise. God bless this hero and his family. You know THE BIBLE says, "An EYE FOR AN EYE AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH". Well in this case the man that tazered him and the man that shot him would be in hell, NOW.

What possible excuse could the police give for killing a 95 year old man in such a brutal manner? Shame on all of them. I hope they are properly disciplined and someone finds a good lawyer to deal with this in the courts. This is another example of government overreaction and a police force that is out of control or under trained to handle the simplest of situations. Short of this man having a loaded AK 47 or a bomb, I don't see any reason for this to have happened.

That's my comment, 95 year old Vet murdered by police.

For those who have not been surprised finding yourself in the midst of a deadly incident, back off!
The old Vet was a hero for his participation in WW II, but who knows what those peace officers encountered when they responded to the call to the and since they have in the past most likely encountered deadly threats, nothing is taken for granted when encountering a scene like the one they encountered at the retirement home. Also you cannot take the picture of the benign old timer having a meal with his wife 8 years ago as being representative of his demeanor at the time the incident occured any more than you could take a picture of the Martin kid at the age of 12 accurately portraying the little hoodlum George Zimmerman met last year in Sanford, Florida. Wait for all the facts to come out before you cast the first stone. I bet those facts will be out well before we find out what actually happened in Benghazi, Libya and its been almost a year and the BO administration is still stonewalling on it.

You are an IDIOT!!!!!! I am retired Air Force and have served as a police officer. As a police officer I have encountered a few thretening moments. However, when there was a senior citizen involved such as Mr. Wrana, there was no cause to use DEADLY force!!!!!! These officers and the facility staff were criminal in their actions. How can you not see that???? Charges need to be brought starting with those at the top all the way to those who shot Mr. Wrana. The facts of the case will most likely show that the officers involved are MORONS and over reacted!!!! The man had enough of being treated badly and wanted nothing to do with being medicated by a staff that most likely treated him like crap!! I wish I could get my 99 year old grandmother out of the nursing home she is in so she doesn't have to go through hell in order to live out her remaining days!

Were you ever a drill instructor at Lackland AFB June-July 1984? I had a Sgt. Troy Weigel as a MTI, in fact this was his first squadron, as the lead MTI; MSgt. Daluz was on leave during this training cycle. I became an SP, retired as an E-7 and am now a Captain with the RI Division of Sheriffs. If you are the same, please respond to

Mr. Weigel, if you really were a policeman then you would know that a taser and bean bag shotgun are not considered deadly weapons. From the rest of your comments I construe you must believe everything you read in the media as you seem to have accepted all the unverified statements made in this article. Not Smart, not smart at all!

Richard I guess you have never had to deal with the police of today. I was pulled over for a lience plate light being and out and the next thing I know I have an officer opening my passenger door with his gun pointed at me scared me so bad I had to go to the hospital though I was gonna have a heart attack. todays police are out of control.

Not to be rude or brag. I'm an Army Veteran, and Federal Retiree of 37 years and eight Months, and 25 year Legion member. God bless him and his family. What was the Police thinking? This should not have happen. A man age 95 almost 96 in 2 weeks. The police people in the situation should be sued and fired regardless, by court order. Don't get me started on this crazy Gun Law debate. I have hot questions on both sides of the Liberal and Conservative issues. I guess you just shoot first and ask questions later. Our bad economy is really making people do worse things. What happen to Common Sense? Perhaps that's not in the Police Training Manual. I understand the old-saying about "we either fight with Butter or Guns". But really? Like I said, don't get me started on Gun issues. I'm sure there'll be someone or critic who may reply, and reject, criticize, and say stupid things, and rant about my comments, in order to settle a point. Or, persuade everyone, since we live in a free country, and freedom of speech, where we do anything we please. Lawless and corrupt.

I know that this isn't the whole story or at least I hope so. But unless he was waving some sort of weapon around I find it hard to believe that a 95 year old man would need to be treated this way. I would hope that some sort of investigation is going on and if excessive force was used then these officers should be facing jail time just like anyone else. Hard to believe a 95 year old man unarmed would need that kind of force to take him down. Guess we will see what kind of integrity this police dept. has.

Mr. Ellis, Amen, finally someone who isn't ready to judge until they see more of the facts. There is more to this story than is included in this article.

Charge them with murder ( 1 )one. Will this make the world news? And where is Obama? I have not heard him on TV about this. O That right he was an old man not able to defend him self so he does not count.

Not all the facts are in. Where is Obama? This old man could not be Obama's son, that's why Obama isn't reading from a teleprompter right now.

Talk about deadly force run amok! There is no way in hell this kind of deterrent can be justified, I don't care if he had a knife or not. Did those police officers REALLY feel threatened by this man? If so they are complete wimps and should probably be in a different line of work. I worked for years in municipal government. I met many outstanding and dedicated police officers, but there were some I was absolutely astounded that they ever passed the psychological screening. Most likely some politician's nephew. This case cries for a top to bottom investigation with appropriate disciplinary action.

I cannot comprehend anyone with any common sense letting this happen. What in the world were these so called officers doing entering a nursing home equipped for a riot. Was this a chance for them to show how well prepared they were at the expense of one of the men who protected America, the home of freedom. He probably would have in a short time went to sleep or took his meds.

Cops are trained to take down just about anybody that is not about to shoot or stab them. In the military we were even trained to take a gun or a knife away from the enemy if possible but a 95 year old in the hospital? Only way was to taser and then shoot him I guess. Like to meet that HERO. I'm sure there are two sides to this story but give me a break, he was 95. My grandson could have subdued him.

So a violent intervention by police officers on an old man who didn't want to go to the doctor. What's next, SWAT teams storming into homes because 5 year olds don't want to eat their vegetables?! SHAME ON YOU DUMB**Ss! I BLAME the rules that leave the officers few or no options for a sensible outcome. After an investigation, they will be fine as long as they followed policy.

Since this tragic event happened in the evening, I am guessing he was 'sundowning', a term used in the medical profession to describe the extreme agitation that can present itself, especially at the end of the day, in patients with dementia. He could have been injected with a quick-acting sedative that is used for combative patients. He may have had PTSD... but all sorts of guessing and presuming aren't going to bring him back. This is incredibly tragic and brought me to tears. May he rest in peace.
In a case like this involving an elderly man who couldn't walk without the aid of his walker or cane, why did't the police aim for his lower legs to disable him instead of his abdomen?

Am familiar with "Sundown Syndrome" for those in beginning to advanced alzheimers. SS usually begins daily, during the late afternoon to early evening hours. I have experienced it first-hand with my mother-in-law who resides in a nursing home facility. The staff (nurses) have a cream on hand, that when a spot of it is applied to the skin (a forearm or other exposed surface), within seconds the patient has returned to a calm state. The nurse must wear a latex glove when applying the spot, since it would have the same effect on the applier if contact is made with the cream. I thought our law enforcement was there to serve, protect and defend. Apparently someone didn't take the time to better assess the situation. Sorry, but it sounds like M in the 1st degree to me!

This should never happen. What kind of monsters are wearing a police uniform and do this to an old man on a walker. I would love to have 10 minutes in a room alone with the cops that did this. They would never walk again. I am filled with rage.

These cops(I won't call them police for fear of insulting good police officers) need to have their collective assets sued. They need to be fired from the force and sent to the slammer for a time! If this had been my father, I wouldn't give up till they were or I was dead!

May be someone might want to snopes this first. This veteran, yes, was refusing medical treatment. When the emt's and the Park Forest Police entered the room he was armed wit a "cane and 2' shoe horn. He was sitting. Then he Pulled out a 12" butcherknife. They asked him a number of times to put it down .He refused. They tasered him. It seemed to have no effect. And boy if you've ever seen or been tasered it can make a grown man cry. Then they used the bean bags at 10' 2x to subdue him.

I'm not offering ANY excuse for the officers involved. Just remember when you received orders to go do a job and theirs was to subdue a subject so the EMTs could do their job. Good judgement not hardly but I come from a state that just freed 4 cops who shot an unarmed subject.

Boilerman- According to both the family and the home itself, there was no "12 inch butcher knife" and the police are not discussing it.  So what is the source on that?

This incident is beyond outrage. If there are two sides to this story, they are (1) the truth, and (2) the story that will undoubtedly be concocted by the police to justify their incredibly stupid actions. To have police officers prevent the staff of the nursing home from going in to calm this old man with whom they were well acquainted, and then to burst through the door and taser him is unbelievable enough. But then to leave when they weren't satisfied with the results of the tasing and return with riot gear and gut-shoot him with a shotgun-fired beanbag round as he sat in his wheelchair? These miscreant "police" should be charged with murder, found guilty, and sentenced to life at hard labor with no possibility of parole.


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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.