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Man dies after being shot while checking safety of neighbor’s property; suspect at large


A Southern California man who was shot at least eight times while checking an elderly neighbor’s property after reports of burglars in the neighborhood died from his injuries on Thanksgiving evening, about a week after the shooting, according to reports.

Patrick Smith, 41, of Barstow, a married father of a young boy, appeared to be “pulling through” after being hospitalized for his injuries, but suffered a setback Thursday morning, his wife, Elizabeth, told the Daily Press of Victorville.

Barstow police have arrested four teenage suspects, ages 15 to 17, in connection with the shooting, but the alleged gunman, identified as Leslie Hawkins, 18, remained at large, the newspaper reported.

Police said in a statement that they had obtained video footage showing Hawkins fleeing from the scene.

Elizabeth said her husband, who worked as a janitor, was always looking for ways to help others.

“He’s best friends with everyone he knows,” she said. “He draws people in. He doesn’t care if you’re a janitor, like him, or whatever you are. I’m always like, ‘How are you so amazing all the time?’”

According to her post on the family’s GoFundMe page, burglars were reported in their neighborhood Nov. 14, and when police arrived one of the suspects ran through the Smiths’ backyard.

After neighbors thought the situation was over, an elderly neighbor asked Patrick Smith to check her property, but he was shot eight times when he entered the backyard area.

According to Elizabeth Smith, Patrick’s injuries included a broken thumb and wrist, a fractured jaw, a split tongue, missing teeth, two collapsed lungs and significant loss of blood.

“My husband is the greatest man in the world,” she wrote before he died. “[He] has always put others before himself and would do this all over again for any of our neighbors, friends or family. He’s the one you can always count on, he’ll be there for you.

“My husband is the greatest man in the world, has always put others before himself and would do this all over again for any of our neighbors, friends or family. He’s the one you can always count on, he’ll be there for you. “

— Elizabeth Smith, widow of shooting victim

“I can’t imagine my life without this man. He’s everything to our son and I.”

Barstow is about 115 miles northeast of Los Angeles.



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