An elderly man died after he was assaulted while trying to help a woman who was being robbed at a Northern California assisted-living facility, authorities say.

Police say a man was robbing the elderly woman in her room when another resident of the facility, a man in his 80s, tried to help. The suspect assaulted the man, who went into cardiac arrest and died, according to the Stockton Police Department.

The incident happened shortly after 8 p.m. Friday at Rio Las Palmas, a retirement community in Stockton, about 40 miles south of Sacramento.

The suspect, a man in his 30s, fled and has yet to be found, the police department said.

Detectives are investigating the death as a homicide.

“Any homicide is horrible, but what happened last night is just heartbreaking,” officer Joe Silva, a spokesman for the police department, told the Stockton Record on Saturday. “The person who attacked our victims is a coward and he needs to be caught.”

The woman, who is in her 80s, was treated at a hospital for minor injuries, according to the police department.

Police don’t think the suspect knew either of the victims, who were not identified.

In a statement to the Stockton Record, Samuel Ogden, a representative of Rio Las Palmas, said the facility is working with law enforcement officials investigating the incident.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of one of our independent-living residents,” Ogden told the paper. “Our hearts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

Rio Las Palmas, a gated community, has 164 independent and assisted-living residences, according to its website.

The police department is asking that anyone who may have information about the incident call 209-937-8377. Tipsters can remain anonymous.

Less than a week before the incident, police say a man was fatally shot and another was injured after trying to help a woman. The incident happened late Tuesday night in a neighborhood not far from the assisted-living facility.

Several neighbors, including the two victims, tried to intervene after a fight started between the woman and the suspect, according to the police department. The suspect pulled out a gun and fired, killing 29-year-old Ricardo Valenzuela Jr. and injuring his brother, according to the Stockton Record. Valenzuela died at a hospital.

The suspect and the woman went inside the house after the shooting and refused to come out, the paper reported. The woman and several children came out after an overnight standoff, but by the time officers went inside the house, the suspect had left and has not been caught.


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