http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20332358&BRD=1160&PAG=461&dept_id=190958&rfi=6 Family: Shooting victim was good father, husband
By Ryan D. Wilson, Staff Reporter June 17, 2009 A 66-year-old man shot by Clay County law enforcement officers as he wielded a toy gun early Sunday morning suffered strokes and was a good father and husband, his family said.
A retired Baptist minister, Ron Hughes was not a violent man, but about 10 months ago he started having multiple strokes that affected the "cognitive side of his brain," Ron Hughes' son Ken said this morning.
"He couldn't remember things," Ken said. "He'd wake up and asked "Where are we?" because he couldn't remember he and mother had moved here from Denver. He also had become somewhat of a recluse. He wouldn't leave the house. For months the neighbors thought the only person who lived there was my mother."
Ken said his father had left the house only twice since his parents moved to Clay Center and that he worried about his mother when she left the house to go to the grocery or to visit him.
"He never had been violent to my mother, he was always gentle to her," Ken said. "This was totally out of character for him."
About five months ago Ken said his mother retired from her job and moved to Clay Center to be closer to family and to better take care of her husband. Ron was on medication for depression and was taking the pills, but Ken said he and his mother did not see a change.
The domestic incident that brought police to Ron Hughes residence early Sunday morning may have been caused by a stroke.
"I honestly believe he must have had a stroke and that he just freaked out, because he would never do anything to my mother, he wasn't violent." he said. "He never said a word to her or to police officers. I honestly don't know what was going through his mind at that moment."
Ken said the family is struggling to understand what happened.
"We never expected anything like this happen," he said. "We're at a loss, we don't understand. We wish we had some answers. We wish we could explain it."
The Sheriff's deputy and police officer who responded "performed exactly as they should have," Ken said. The officers have been "professional to a T," he said.
"Both my mom and I understand the officers did exactly what they should have done — as far as they knew, their lives were at risk," he said. "I feel bad for them, that they were put into a position where they had to do something they never wanted to do. No officer wants to have to fire their weapon, it's horrible."
Ken said he has talked to one of the officers about the incident and that officer's mother and knows they are struggling with it.
Ken said his parents were married 45 years and today happens to be their anniversary.
"She's at a loss and on top of that she misses her best friend," he said.
Ron Hughes was a Baptist minister for 29 years at the same small church in Lakewood, Colo., a suburb of Denver, except for about year when he ministered in Montana.
Ken recalls that his father attended all of his basketball games when he was kid and that he loved to play the trumpet. So much so that we would play "Charge!" and "Sweet Georgia Pie" in the stands during the games. When they attended Denver Broncos games his father played "Jesus Loves Me" in the stands that could be heard across the stadium.
When Ron was 14, he played the trumpet professionally for Ringley Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.
"He was a good man," Ken said. "He did his best for us, he was a good father."©Clay Center Dispatch 2009