Elderly woman shot dead hours after telling police caretaker would kill her

Police talking to Henry Cardana  (KOAT / screengrab)
Police talking to Henry Cardana (KOAT / screengrab)

Harrowing body-camera video captured an elderly woman begging police for help just hours before she was allegedly shot dead by her caretaker.

Police responded to 82-year-old Juneanne Fannell’s home in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, in April after her caretaker, Henry Cardana, called 911.

Mr Cardana told the 911 dispatcher that Fannell, a hospice patient, was “uncontrollable” and needed to be removed from her home for her own safety, according to KOAT.

The 82-year-old Fannell then told the dispatcher that she felt like she was in danger — and she mentioned Mr Cardana’s firearms.

When police arrived, video released this month shows one officer asking Mr Cardana: “You’re a firearms guy?”

“Oh, yeah,” Mr Cardana replies.

“Nice,” the officer says.

“They’re loaded. They’re ready to go,” the caretaker says.

“We don’t need to see them,” the officer says, adding, “I like folks that have guns,” explaining that he’s also a gun owner.

As the officers turn to leave, Fannell begs them: “Please don’t leave me.”

Cardana then says something inaudible on the video, to which Fannell replies: “What did you say?”

“I said you’re fine until I kill you,” Mr Cardana says.

“All right? He’s threatened to do that,” Fannell tells the officers.

“Get out of here now,” Mr Cardana snaps at the officers. “Go away.”

Four hours later, police were called back to Fannell’s home after a neighbour made a harrowing 911 call. Seemingly referring to Mr Cardana, the neighbour said: “He says he’s killed her.”

Officers then found Fannell dead and Mr Cardana covered in blood.

Rio Rancho Police Chief Stewart Steele defended the officers’ actions to KOAT as the video was released this month, saying there was “no reasonable belief to suspect that either individual was sincerely contemplating an imminent act of violence.”

The officers also lacked the authority to arrest, implement a protective order or file a petition under the Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act — which keeps guns out of the hands of those who are at risk to themselves or others, the chief added.

Mr Cardana was charged with murder. The caretaker allegedly blamed police for the 82-year-old’s death.