You’re a cop responding to a burglary call and 911 calls in the neighborhood reporting shots fired. Upon exiting the vehicle, you come across an armed person, and they refuse to drop their weapon. You fire, and kill them. It sounds like a reasonable response… unless the dead “perp” turns out to be the 83-year-old woman who called the cops in the first place.
Daughters Madeline Clark and Linda Langford are outraged that their mother was killed, and I have great sympathy for their loss. I hope they can learn to understand in time, however, that their mother made a series of bad decisions that led to her demise.
- Never go looking for trouble. Delma Towler grabbed a weapon she had never fired before that moment, and after discharging it, left her home.
- Never discharge a weapon without knowing your target and what is behind it. Towler fired her handgun multiple times. The article doesn’t explain where Towler pointed her weapon when she fired, but photos suggest she fired through her back door, endangering others. There is no evidence that she fired at a lethal threat. Had she survived her encounter, she should have faced charges for assault with a deadly weapon.
- Obey the police. Don’t point guns at them. According to her own family members, the 83-year-old had neither her glasses nor her hearing aides as she fired blindly in the dark, then attempted to navigate in the dark with a weapon to a relative’s home several houses away. Blind, deaf, and armed, with police on the way is an invitation to disaster.
Towler’s son Robert Barbour claimed his mother, “ was a good Christian woman and she wouldn’t hurt a soul.”
Multiple shots says otherwise about her intent. While I have the utmost sympathy for Mrs. Towler and her children, she failed to obtain training, failed to learn basic gun-handling fundamentals, failed to learn the law, fired a lethal weapon while double sensory-impaired, and made other lethal mistakes that led to her death, but more importantly she did things could have just as easily have led her to wounding or murdering someone else.
Put bluntly, if the family wants to blamecast, they need to start with themselves.
I’m far from being a police apologist—just ask the NYPD, who I’ve suggested should be disarmed—but the officers here had reasonable reaction in a bad situation. The responding officers had the deck stacked against them by the dangerous and inept acts of Mrs. Towler, and she alone created the conditions that led to her death.