The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

August 30, 2013

Remember the name

Daily Item

---- — Learn the name John Wrana, and remember it.

Wrana, a 95-year-old World War II veteran and resident of the Victory Centre nursing home in Park Forest, Illinois, died in a local hospital from internal bleeding in the early morning hours of July 27, 2013. The bleeding resulted from Wrana being shot by police with bean bag rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun. Prior to being shot with the bean bags, Wrana was shot with a Taser.

The coroner ruled Wrana's death a homicide.

Wrana was apparently agitated over a medical concern. Nursing home staff called paramedics, who in turn called police. The 95-year-old wielded his cane, and a shoehorn. Police later claimed he had a knife, but this claim is in dispute.

Staff members who knew Wrana pleaded with police to allow them to attempt to de-escalate the situation, but officers stormed into Wrana's room with riot gear. The old veteran was hit with a taser, then, according to at least one witness, shot with a bean bag round after he collapsed into a chair.

Within hours, John Wrana, just shy of his 96th birthday, was dead.

The Illinois State Police are investigating the horrific circumstances of Wrana's death.

Given the large number of nursing homes and assisted living homes in the Susquehanna Valley, and the hundreds of our elderly friends and family members who live in these homes, the fate of John Wrana demands our attention. It is unimaginable that another way of calming and subduing the old veteran could be not be used.

Imagine if police treated nonagenarian veterans like Vincent Wohlheiter, Murray Lewis, or Joe Diblin in a similar manner. There would be angry protests outside the police station within hours. Imagine if the victim was your father, or your grandfather — what would you do?

John Wrana did not deserve his gruesome fate. Let us do what we must to make sure that this ugly circumstance never happens again.

John Deppen,