California Man Shot 8 Times While Helping Elderly Neighbor Dies on Thanksgiving

Elizabeth and Patrick Smith, before his death on Thanksgiving.
Elizabeth and Patrick Smith.Elizabeth Smith

The husband and father was helping a burglarized neighbor when he was shot eight times.

A California man was shot eight times while helping an elderly neighbor who'd just been burglarized. After clinging to life for more than a week, he died on Thanksgiving, police said.

Patrick Smith, 41, survived for 10 days before his body just gave out, his wife, Elizabeth, wrote on a GoFundMe page.  

The husband and father of a 5-year-old son had been trying to help an older woman whose home had just been burglarized. She was afraid to go back inside and asked Patrick to check things out.

"Patrick and I waited out front of our home for a while until we thought everything was clear," Elizabeth wrote.

Someone had already run through their backyard, she said, and was apparently one of the burglars. When her husband checked the side of their neighbor's house, he was shot multiple times. 

Barstow police are seeking an 18-year-old suspect in the shooting. Leslie Hawkins faces a murder charge, but is still at large, officials said.

"We have surveillance video that helped ID him and witness statements," Capt. Andrew Espinoza told "We haven't been able to find him."

Four other suspects, ranging in age from 15 to 17, were arrested near the scene and and later charged with burglary. They are being held in juvenile detention, police said. They were not identified because they are minors.

"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," she wrote before he died.

The fundraising site has raised more than $45,000, which will now go toward funeral and medical bills, she said. 

"He's gone and my son and I are now alone," she wrote after he passed away. "We thought he was pulling through, he looked so good for those 8 days. Now, we feel he was hanging on long enough to see all of his friends and family."