Delma Towler, 83, Shot and Killed by Virginia Police after Calling 911 to Report Home Intruder
The Lynchburg News & Advance reports that Delma Towler, 83, of Altavista dialed 911 last Wednesday night to report a burglary. Officers responding to the call found Towler wandering around in her backyard holding a gun. Officers claim they opened fire after repeatedly ordering the elderly woman to put down the weapon.
Towler was not wearing her hearing aid or her glasses at the time she was killed. She may not have been aware that the officers were there.
Madeline Clark, one of Towler’s daughters, told the News & Advance that the elderly woman’s Chihuahua Sugar woke her up when it heard an intruder in her home. Towler grabbed her gun, which she had never used before, and fired warning shots into the ceiling. She then attempted to make her way from her home to her sister’s house two doors down, but was shot by two police officers in her backyard.
Linda Langford, Towler’s other daughter, claimed that her mother was “gunned down like she was an animal or a criminal.”
“It’s not over yet. I’m going to get some justice because our mother did not deserve to die like this … to be gunned down like she was an animal or a criminal,” Langford told the News & Advance.
“If I have to spend every penny, someone’s going to pay,” she added. “They took my mama.”
The Virginia State Police released a statement in which they claim that the officers “heard shots fired from within the residence.”
“As the officers took cover, they saw a woman armed with a handgun leave the back of the house,” the statement continued.
VSP claim Towler pointed her gun at the officers.
“Mom ain’t gonna hurt no police officer or nobody else. She was a good Christian woman and she wouldn’t hurt a soul,” Robert Barbour, her son, countered.
Altavista Police Chief Clay Hamilton has brought in special agents from the Virginia State Police Criminal Investigation’s Police Shooting Investigative Team to investigate. The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.