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January 31, 2013

Suspected doc killer was patient with appointment

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — A retired barber accused of fatally shooting a California urologist was a patient who had an appointment with the victim and brought the gun with him to the exam room, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Stanwood Fred Elkus, 75, was charged with murder in the Monday attack that killed Dr. Ronald Gilbert.

The 52-year-old doctor was shot multiple times in the upper body at his office in the affluent city of Newport Beach in suburban Orange County.

Elkus, of Lake Elsinore, appeared in court Wednesday afternoon wearing an orange jumpsuit with his hands in his pockets, and told a judge he couldn’t afford an attorney.

Superior Court Judge Craig Robinson postponed his arraignment until March 5, and said Elkus would be assigned a public defender in the interim. He was being held without bail.

Elkus had appeared at the office seeking an appointment on Friday, though it was not clear with which of the three doctors who worked at the Orange Coast Urology Group, said Matt Murphy, the deputy district attorney prosecuting the case.

Elkus was told he could be squeezed into Gilbert’s schedule on Monday, when he waited in the exam room with a handgun before opening fire when the doctor walked in, Murphy said.

He then gave the gun to another staff member at the medical office and was arrested quietly, authorities said.

Investigators have found no evidence that Gilbert ever treated Elkus prior to the appointment, Murphy said.

Elkus had long suffered from prostate problems and was upset about his incontinence after a recent surgery, his neighbors said. It wasn’t clear who performed the surgery.

Elkus’ health problems left him running for the bathroom constantly, sometimes in mid-conversation, neighbors said.

“One day we were talking about other things outside and he says, ‘Oh hold it right there!’ and he was rushing to his house and when he came back, he said, ‘I have a problem with my prostate,”’ recalled Miguel Soto, who lives across the street.

“He said, ‘I had surgery and now I am worse than before the surgery.”’

Another neighbor, James Lord, said Elkus mentioned Sunday that “he wasn’t going to be around much longer.”

“I told him, ‘No Stan, you’re gonna outlive me,”’ Lord said.

Gilbert worked in general urology, sexual dysfunction and related surgical techniques, including vasectomies, bladder and prostate cancer, according to his biography on the website of Orange Coast Urology, which he joined in 1993.

One of his specialties involved using a laser to vaporize prostate tissue blocking the urinary tract.

The biography said Gilbert had been a stockbroker and a singer in a rock band. He had worked for 20 years at Hoag Hospital and was its former urology chief.

———

Jablon reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writer Shaya Tayefe Mohajer in Newport Beach and AP researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York City contributed to this report.

 

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