Medical center shooting leaves physician dead

Dr. Ronald Gilbert practiced urology at Newport Beach complex affiliated with Hoag. Stanwood Elkus, 75, is accused in the shooting death.

January 29, 2013|By Jeremiah Dobruck, Jill Cowan, Lauren Williams and Nicole Santa Cruz

Piercing the sense of security at Newport Beach's cherished medical center, an elderly man fired six to seven rounds in a doctor's office Monday afternoon, leaving a prominent urologist dead.

Dr. Ronald Gilbert, who practiced in the Hoag Hospital-affiliated complex at 520 Superior Ave., perished in the gunfire. The 52-year-old Huntington Harbour resident was married, with two children.

Stanwood Elkus, 75, of Lake Elsinore, shot Gilbert multiple times in the torso at about 2:45 p.m. in Gilbert's second-floor examination room, Newport Beach police said. He allegedly remained with the body for about seven minutes until police arrived.

"He was inside that room, and he was just sort of waiting there," Newport police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe said.

Gun deaths are rare in Newport Beach and the news reverberated through the cluster of medical buildings on Superior's well-traveled incline. Many residents seemed to know Gilbert, his associates or others who practice medicine in and around Hoag.


"I am terrified," said Kristin Crotty, who works on the third floor directly above Suite 240, where Gilbert and his partners operated a private practice. "I just want to get home to my family right now."

Inside, some workers locked their doors and hid. Others kept working, unaware of the shooting until they saw news reports on TVs in their offices or patients called to say police tape was keeping them from their appointments.

Many employees said they didn't hear the shooting or didn't identify the sound as gunshots.

"I blew it off as construction," Crotty said, explaining she thought it was a nail gun until she called building services and was told to lock the door because of a possible shooter in the building.

Some workers in the medical building craned against the windows, looking down at police leading Elkus, who was wearing a baseball cap, calmly out in handcuffs.

On Tuesday morning, the only indication of Monday's shooting was a white computer printout reading, "This office is closed today" on the office door to Orange Coast Urology.

Police believe Elkus may be a patient at the practice, Lowe said, and neighbors in Riverside told the Press-Enterprise newspaper that he had complained of prostate problems.

Officials searched his Lake Elsinore home Monday evening and took some items as evidence, she added.

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