Colucci shooting raises questions about dementia dangers

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Ivo Colucci in bond court (WCIV)

Ivo Colucci, the 80-year-old owner of Colucci's Jewelers in North Charleston,, was arrested April 14, charged with murdering his own wife.

Colucci’s family maintains he has dementia, and health experts say that may not be a simple attempt to excuse criminal behavior.

Dr. Jacobo Mintzer at Roper St. Francis says dementia poses real dangers, which can have tragic consequences.

"We refer today to dementia as when someone loses the ability to be themselves," he said.

Dr. Mintzer said he often sees dementia or Alzheimer's patients who are gun owners. He said that presents safety concerns.

"Many times we see patients which their lifestyle is involved and has lots to be do about sportsmanship and guns," he said. "As in every other situation, when you have less of an ability to appropriately understand the situation then the outcome can be dangerous."

Mintzer said it's incredibly important to add another level of safety and security in your home if a loved one has dementia and there are guns present.

Surveillance video shows Colucci shot his wife in the head at their North Charleston jewelry store, according to police.

Afterward, police said he picked up the shell casing, left the gun inside and met them in the doorway.

Dr. Mintzer says people with dementia can't express their emotions correctly.

"We in love, we get angry, we get happy, we get sad," said Dr. Mintzer. "However, we manage the expression of these emotions with respect to our environment."

Mintzer explained that dementia patients don't understand their actions and the world around them.

As for Colucci, court documents filed Tuesday include a motion for discovery and a motion asking the state to notify Colucci of any witness who plan to testify about his memory, or lack thereof.

Colucci's next court appearance is set for June 16.