STOCKTON -- For decades, retired Stockton CHP Sergeant Joe Elsey kept the public safe and although he retired more than 30 years ago, he died trying to protect his friend during a robbery at gated Rio Los Palmas Senior Living Center in Stockton on Friday.
The two both lived at the facility. The suspect posed as a maintenance worker and had told the elderly woman that her outside light needed to be fixed, according to Stockton police investigators. The man was let into the room then began to rob the woman who is in her 80s. That’s when 87-year-old Elsey tried to help. The suspect attacked them both and the retired sergeant went into cardiac arrest, then died.
The robber, now homicide suspect, ran away.
The Stockton Police Department released a sketch of the suspect Friday, who they say is a Hispanic man in his 30s with black, shaggy hair, olive color skin and a black mustache. He is also around 5 foot 8 to 9 inches tall and about 145 to 150 pounds. During the robbery he wore a black jacket with a name tag and dark undershirt, pants and gloves.
“Really sad,” a woman said. She asked us to hide her identity and alter her voice. The woman told us she visits the facility weekly and is familiar with how it operates. “It’s kind of weird to hear something like that about, you know, about this place. I mean they’re really cautious."
She added, there are security cameras on-site and all employees must check in.
We also reached out to the Director of the senior home. Samuel Ogden wrote in an email -- “We are deeply saddened by the passing of one of our independent living residents. Our hearts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
However, because of the ongoing investigation, Ogden would not comment further.
As for the tragedy that took place at the gated facility, the woman we spoke to is shocked and in disbelief that someone would prey on a community so vulnerable.
“That’s really pathetic. I mean that’s like probably an all time low right there,” she said.
The elderly woman was treated at a hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Sergeant Elsey is survived by a son. A private funeral will take place in the coming weeks.
If you have any information about this tragedy please call Crime Stoppers: (209) 946-0600 or the Stockton Police Department: (209) 937-8377.
Below is video of a person of interest.