NEWPORT BEACH — A 75-year-old retired barber was jailed Tuesday for investigation of killing a urologist in his exam room, but police have not yet released a motive.
Stanwood Fred Elkus of Lake Elsinore was arrested following the Monday afternoon attack and held on $1 million bail, according to the county jail website.
Elkus is suspected of killing Dr. Ronald Franklin Gilbert, 52, of Huntington Beach at the medical office in Orange County.
Police said they found Elkus and Gilbert in a second-floor room after several 911 callers reported six or seven shots fired. A gun was found at the scene.
The doctor had been shot several times in the upper body and was declared dead at the scene in Newport Beach.
Elkus had surgery for a prostate problem but he never specifically said Gilbert was his doctor, said his neighbor James Lord.
“He never complained to me about the doctor,” Lord said.
On Sunday, Elkus asked Lord to fix the brake pedal on his car and “he kind of mentioned that he wasn’t going to be around much longer,” Lord said.
“I told him ‘no Stan, you’re gonna outlive me,’” Lord said.
Elkus, who lived alone, was familiar with guns, Lord said.
“We talked about guns before,” he said. “He’d go out shooting, target practice. He’d go to target ranges.
“I just can’t believe that he did it,” Lord said. “He was a nice guy. … He didn’t seem like he was going to flip out or anything.”
An autopsy was planned Tuesday and Elkus was scheduled to appear Wednesday in court. Police searched his home but declined to disclose what they found.
Gilbert, a married father of two children, appeared to be the only target of the attack, police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe said.
Dr. Jeffrey Lauber, a dermatologist, said he frequently referred patients with cancer symptoms to Gilbert.
“He’s the best there is,” Lauber said. “Not only is he a very good urologist, he’s a pillar of the community.”
Lauber couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to shoot Gilbert.
“This doesn’t happen down here,” he said of the wealthy enclave 45 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
Gilbert dealt with general urology, sexual dysfunction and related surgical techniques including vasectomies, bladder and prostate cancer, according to his biography on the website of the Orange Coast Urology Group, which he joined in 1993.
One of his specialties involved using a laser to vaporize prostate tissue blocking the urinary tract. His biography called him a “people person” and said he enjoys helping people.
He decided to become a doctor mainly because his late father was a doctor, the biography said, adding that Gilbert had been a stockbroker and a singer in a rock band.