A California father is dead after getting shot while checking on an elderly neighbor after a burglary.
Patrick Smith died on Thanksgiving Day after he was shot eight times on Nov. 14 in Barstow, California. The 41-year-old janitor was shot in the backyard of his neighbor’s house after he offered to check it for her following a burglary, according to his wife Elizabeth’s GoFundMe.
The Barstow Police Department arrested four teenagers, ranging in age from 15 to 17, connected with the burglary that occurred at around 6:50 p.m., the police department said in a press release. The alleged gunman, 18-year-old Leslie Hawkins, remains at large.
A spokesperson for the police department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Elizabeth created the GoFundMe for her husband before his death, writing that he was “almost completely void of blood” when he was transported to the hospital.
“On November 14th, near our home, there was a burglary in progress,” Elizabeth wrote. “When the cops arrived one of the suspects fled and ran through our backyard. Patrick and I waited out front of our home for a while until we thought everything was clear.”
While the two were waiting, “an elderly neighbor” approached the two asked if Patrick “could come and check her house because she was scared to go back in.”
“Patrick, being a gentleman, went and checked her home which was clear but once he entered the backyard the suspect shot Patrick [eight] times,” she explained.
Her husband, she wrote, was admitted into a hospital “with 8 gunshot wounds, a broken thumb/wrist, fractured jaw, split tongue, missing teeth, two collapsed lungs, and almost completely devoid of blood.”
The father of one underwent two surgeries in which his appendix was removed. Sadly he never recovered from his injuries.
“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,” Elizabeth wrote. “He’s the one you can always count on, he’ll be there for you.”
“I can’t imagine my life without this man. He’s everything to our son and I,” she added. “He has a long road to recovery and is going to need help with the expenses of his medical bills and lost income. Anything will help.”
Elizabeth told the Daily Press her husband was “best friends with everyone” he knew.
“He draws people in,” she said. “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?’”
The Barstow Police Department wrote detectives viewed surveillance video “that captured part of the shooting incident,” according to the department’s press release.
“The video shows Hawkins fleeing from the scene on foot after the shooting,” the release said. “Detectives searched the scene for Hawkins but were unable to locate him.”
Four male teenagers were booked at the San Bernardino County High Desert Juvenile Detention Center for burglary. Police are searching for Hawkins for the charge of attempted murder.
Anyone with additional information regarding this investigation or anyone who knows the location of Leslie Hawkins may contact Detective Thomas Lewis at (760) 255-5187. Persons wishing to remain anonymous can contact the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-782-7463 or online at www.wetip.com.
How devastating. RIP.