Police Say Elderly Man Shot Newport Doctor

Stanwood Fred Elkus, 75, of Lake Elsinore is identified as the alleged gunman at a Hoag medical office.

An elderly man from Lake Elsinore has been identified as the suspect in Monday's fatal shooting of a urologist in Newport Beach, police said Tuesday.

Stanwood Fred Elkus, a 75-year-old barber, was arrested shortly after the slaying inside a Hoag medical building, according to Newport Beach police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe. The victim was Dr. Ronald Gilbert of Huntington Beach, who would have celebrated his 53rd birthday on Wednesday, according to Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino. An autopsy is expected to be performed Tuesday, Amormino said.

Elkus was being held on $1 million bail and will make his first court appearance Wednesday, court records show.

The shooting was reported at 2:45 p.m. Monday on the second floor of the Hoag Medical Group building at 520 Superior Ave., Lowe said. A caller inside the building reported hearing six to seven shots.

Gilbert was allegedly gunned down by Elkus in an exam room.

When police arrived, Elkus and Gilbert were both still inside the office, and Elkus was taken into custody without incident, Lowe said.

Gilbert had been shot several times in the torso and was pronounced dead at the scene, Lowe said. No other injuries were reported.

Victim Remembered Fondly

Ehren Jacobs said he and Gilbert were friends since the fourth grade. He said the doctor made people feel like they were the most important person in the room.

"I lost a best friend yesterday but I know a lot of people feel the same way," Jacobs said. "That's just the kind of guy he was. Everyone loved him."

According to an online biography, Gilbert was a married father of two teenage boys. He is credited as the chief scientist behind Promescent, a spray-on product to prevent premature ejaculation. 

A graduate of UCI Medical School, Gilbert once served as chief of Hoag Hospital's urology department and as an assistant clinical professor of urology at UCI.

"The Hoag Hospital family is devastated by the senseless act of violence against Dr. Ronald Gilbert," said Richard Afable, president and CEO of Hoag Hospital, in a statement issued Tuesday. "He was admired, respected and beloved by the Hoag family and will be deeply missed."

Gilbert joined Hoag’s staff in 1993 and served as the chair of the urology department from October 1998 to September 2002.  

The Suspect

Newport Beach police were on scene throughout the night at Elkus' residence in the 15600 block of Laguna Avenue in Lake Elsinore, according to Deputy Albert Martinez of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

“Stan” Elkus was generally a friendly Lake Elsinore resident; he lived alone on Laguna Avenue and kept to himself, but he always waved and would stop to say hello, according to neighbors who gathered Tuesday on the street where Elkus lived.

The accused didn’t seem capable of killing, but he anguished over a prostate surgery that left him with embarrassing incontinence, the neighbors said.

Elkus complained the procedure made him worse, said Miguel Soto, 65.

“I recognized that he was very upset with the doctor. He thought maybe there should have been treatment before surgery. He was very embarrassed due to the incontinence,” Soto added.

“I don’t know when he had it [the surgery] or where his doctor was. Three or four weeks ago he said he was going back to the doctor," Soto said.

But there was no mention of retaliation toward anyone.

“This is a complete surprise; he was a nice person,” Soto said

James Lord, 54, a neighbor from across the street, said he knew the suspect well.

"He was a nice guy who never bothered anyone," he said. "He had some kind of prostate problem, but I don't know where his doctor was located."

Neighbor Rick Gower, 52, also knew Elkus as a friendly man who was often seen riding his bike to the grocery story. However, Elkus's prostate problems were often a topic of conversation.

"He talked about it a lot. He would always say, 'Don't ever get a prostate operation because it will screw your life up.'"

Gower, who watched police work the quiet Lake Elsinore home all night, said he didn't think Elkus was capable of killing.

"I don't think so," he said. "No."

Neighbor Bob Rodriguez, a retired senior, says he was shocked to learn about the shooting. Elkus was a quiet man, but he had been upset lately over an alleged home burglary in which several of his guns were stolen, Rodriguez said.

“That was usually part of our conversation,” Rodriquez recounted.

Few visitors came to see Elkus, although Rodriguez said “a young lady about Stan’s age” would stop by every now and again.

It’s unknown if Elkus has any family in the area.

Related Coverage

--Toni McAllister and Daniel Lane contributed to this report.

samuel joffe January 30, 2013 at 04:26 AM
This man that was shot was my friends dad. He now has no father. He also has a young 16 year old son left fatherless. What kind of sick person would shoot an innocent man and take away his life. He had a family and was loved by all.
BarbaraIrvine January 30, 2013 at 05:43 AM
Another senseless tragedy involving guns and mentally unstable gun owners. RIP Dr. Gilbert and may your family somehow find the courage to go on without you.
Charles Murray January 30, 2013 at 04:13 PM
This is a very sad case for all involved, and God be with the families of the victim AND that of the man who killed him. Violence is never the answer in a situation which did not start violently. And no matter what went wrong (or what Elkus perceived to have gone wrong with the surgery as a vengeance-demanding act), this was clearly a first degree murder. With that said, and knowing my family's own experience recently with what we believe is wrongful acts on the part of doctors and officials with (unnamed hospital) in Newport Beach, I can feel the frustration which must have troubled Elkus. Specifically, my sister-in-law would not be alive right now, had my wife not obtained a lawyer's help to force doctors to re-evaluate some tests, which for profit sake, were misinterpreted, and an unnecessary surgery was ordered. I imagine that my sister-in-law is not the only example of the type of corruption to which I am referring, and I further imagine that Mr. Elkus was sadly in that very compromised position. Let this event be a wake-up call for the People to take a good hard look at the entire state of medical care in America today, and how we got to this terrible place in time, and how to steer back toward real medicine. No insurance plan nor Obamacare will do anything but to further the waste and suffering, and gross mismanagement. Time to go back to cash for medical care, and to make it affordable, stop all the fake lawsuits and bureaucracy. Charles M.
JustUs January 30, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Sure. Why not? If it makes a doctor feel safer while he practices medicine it's a good thing. He's not going to wear a side holster with the firearm displayed to his patients. He could wear it under his medical garb or even have an ankle holster under his pant leg. Had Dr. Gilbert been armed he likely would be alive today and only the vermin would be dead. Would you rather have a murder-suicide with 2 dead and a family without a husband and father or just one dead by an act of self defense? Please, think logically and rationally.
ca January 30, 2013 at 11:13 PM
.... too late for that kind of common sense.... the politicians have found a new deep pocket to dip into... we're doomed you know.....


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