Possible Motive Emerges in Murder Of Newport Doctor – Eric Spillman Reports
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KTLA) — A retired barber suspected of shooting and killing his doctor at his Newport Beach office is due in court Wednesday morning.
It happened around 2:45 p.m. Monday at the Hoag Health Center at 520 Superior Ave., near Hoag Hospital, according to Newport Beach police.
The victim, 52-year-old urologist Dr. Ronald Gilbert, was gunned down inside his medical practice, Orange Coast Urology, on the second floor of the building.
Police say Gilbert was shot six to seven times in the upper torso. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The suspect, Stanwood Fred Elkus, 75, of Lake Elsinore, and the doctor were still inside the office when police arrived.
Elkus, who was a patient of Gilbert’s, was arrested without incident. He is being held on $1 million bail.
“We will be investigating the relationship between the suspect and the victim, as well as a possible motive,” said police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe.
The suspects’ family members spoke exclusively to KTLA, saying that he was bitter over issues with his prostate.
“Approximately 20 years ago, he had a procedure done, and the doctor — the urologist — apparently knicked his prostate,” said one close relative, who did not want to be identified.
“He wouldn’t have sex. He’d have to go to the bathroom seven, eight times a night. He’d have to use a catheter,” the relative explained.
“It was an unbelievable inconvenience for him, and he’s been very angry, you know, hostile,” he added.
Elkus was apparently seeing Dr. Gilbert in the hopes that a laser treatment might help him recover.
“I think he used that doctor as symbolic of his frustration,” the family member said. “It’s very sad when somebody that you know has done such a terrible thing.”
Elkus is described by his family as frugal, politically opinionated and a gun enthusiast who enjoyed hunting and fishing.
But they also say that he was a gentle man, who they didn’t think was capable of violence.
That is, until yesterday, when they say he called them and admitted that he had shot and killed his doctor.
“He indicated very calmly that he had shot a man and that he was going to jail,” the relative told KTLA.
Neighbors told similar stories about Elkus’ ongoing medical problems.
“He was always complaining of being sick and going to the doctor and stuff like that. He had prostate problems,” neighbor Sherry Martin said.
“I know he didn’t like his doctor becasue of his prostate problem,” said another neighbor, James Lord. “He was always going there every weekend or once a month or something.”
Meantime, people who knew Gilbert say they’re stunned by what happened.
“I couldn’t imagine what a 70-year-old man could possibly do to Dr. Gilbert, he’s the best there is,” said Dr. Jeffrey Lauber, whose office is two doors down.
“I’ve got goosebumps all over. It’s worse than hives,” he added. “I can’t believe… I’ve known Ron personally for about 20 years… This is not a good thing.”
Gilbert was a graduate of UCI College of Medicine in 1987, and had been a practicing physician and surgeon since 1989, according to the California Medical Board.
The website for Orange Coast Urology said he was married and had two children. He would have been celebrating his 53rd birthday Wednesday.