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Elderly Gas Station Assault Victim Described as ‘Loving and Caring’

SACRAMENTO -- Surveillance video reveals the man investigators believe is responsible for a brazen, broad-daylight beating at an Arco gas station on Watt Avenue.

The attack left 85-year-old Lawrence Windham with traumatic injuries to his face.

He died hours later.

"He's loving, caring, always wants to be your friend," his granddaughter said.

Still emotional about the trauma her grandfather went through before his death, Windham's granddaughter didn't want to reveal her identity.

But she spoke with FOX40 about what her grandpa meant to her.

"I just loved him because he was so wise, and he would always give me so much advice on life and everything," she said.

Investigators say Windham was assaulted after pulling up to the pump around 1 p.m. last Monday.

"The suspect slapped the victim across the face. After that, the victim attempted to defend himself and was struck several more times in the face by the suspect," said Sgt. Tony Turnbull.

Turnbull says Windham refused medical attention after the attack and told deputies he was heading to the doctor already.

Several hours later, he told a family member he wasn't feeling well and died.

It's not clear yet if he died due to injuries from the attack, but homicide detectives have taken over the investigation.

"They are treating it right now as an assault and an elderly abuse case. What would change it to a murder, or voluntary manslaughter, or second-degree murder would be the coroner's report," said Turnbull.

The sheriff's department said the suspect took off in a brown sedan after the assault.

Catching him would provide relief for Windham's grieving granddaughter who's getting ready to finish college, with her grandpa's advice in mind.

"He always told me, 'graduate, you gotta graduate,' so I'm gonna graduate," she said.

The suspect is described as being in his 20s with bushy dark hair, facial hair, wearing a hoodie and sweatpants.

Investigators say he had a woman with dark hair in the car with him when he took off.

He's facing assault and elderly abuse charges, but the charges could be upgraded pending results from the autopsy report.