ELK GROVE (CBS13) – Roy Marcum was doing the job he loved, taking care of animals, when he was murdered in cold blood.
After a 17-hour standoff, the man police say shot and killed the Sacramento County animal control officer in Galt, was arrested early Thursday morning.
As alleged shooter Joseph Corey was being booked into the Sacramento County Jail on Thursday, Roy Marcum’s family is mourning a terrible loss.
“The family is going through hell,” said friend and former colleague Shelly Pai. “They lost their dad, their husband, their best friend.”
Police say the 45-year-old Elk Grove man never saw it coming when Corey shot and killed him from behind the door of his foreclosed home on First Street in Galt.
“It’s just something we can’t understand that’s hard to fathom because Roy was the most non-confrontational person in the department,” Pai said.
Marcum and two locksmiths approached the Galt home around noon Wednesday after Corey was evicted Tuesday. Roy was going to collect several cats and dogs from inside. But when he walked up to the house, police say Corey fired a shotgun through the front door, striking and killing Roy.
Jean Kelly knew Roy from when she ran a horse and dog rescue. She can’t believe he’s gone.
“I just don’t know how they’re going to be able to replace him,” she said. “This was a person that genuinely cared about getting to the bottom of a case, doing whatever he could to resolve it.”
“It was more than love,” Pai said. “(Wife) Tina and his family were his passion, but animals were too.”
Roy leaves behind Tina, son Roy Jr., daughter Jackie and two stepchildren.
Sacramento County Animal Shelter Director Dave Dickinson issued a statement, saying in part: “We are deeply saddened with the loss of Animal Control Officer Roy Marcum. Our condolences and prayers go out to Tina, his wife, their four children and Roy’s entire family, as they try to cope with the loss of Roy.
“He was a good officer who loved animals and people, and was well-liked by all those who worked with him and the communities he served. He exemplified the very best qualities of an animal control officer.”
Roy also leaves behind his work companion, his dog Petunia, who spent 17 hours locked inside his truck as SWAT teams positioned to capture Corey.
“We don’t know why it happened,” Pai said. “We’re grateful we got the dog out, and we’re grateful that Roy did not suffer.”
Marcum’s friend and former co-worker Ruben Hernandez says Marcum had an infectious laugh that filled the shelter everyday.
Hernandez met Marcum more than 12 years go at the Sacramento County Animal Shelter.
“He was a great guy, he was a hard worker,” said Hernandez.
They kept in touch even after Hernandez went to work for another agency. He received the call about Marcum’s murder while at work, and rushed to be with Marcum’s wife.
“Our first thought is ‘how could this happen?’ ” Hernandez said. “The other part, the reality is ‘was it inevitable?’ ”
A source close to the county shelter says animal control officers did ask for bullet proof vests years ago. The director at the time wanted all officers to wear them at all times, but some officers didn’t feel the need to wear the vests while in the office. The idea then went no where.
Other agencies don’t wear vests, but do carry protection to use against animals. Officers in Roseville carry tasers and firearms. Stockton officers carry pepper spray and batons, and Placer County’s officers carry rifles. One of the few who do wear bullet proof vests are Elk Grove animal control officers.
“Knowing Roy, if this happened to anybody else, he would be screaming from the rooftops as to ‘what can we do to make this better?’ ‘How do we make people safer?’ ” said Hernandez.
According to the National Animal Control Association, Marcum is the first animal control officer to be killed during an eviction in the country.
The association says it does want more safety training for officers, because they deal with violent criminals on a daily basis.