A 14-year veteran Sacramento County animal control officer, identified as Roy Curtis Marcum, 45, of Elk Grove, was shot and killed while responding to a request to help a possibly abandoned animal in Galt on Wednesday, November 28, at about noon.
The shooting suspect barricaded himself inside the home and was not taken into custody until 18 hours later.
The officer, who is described by coworkers as a kind and non-confrontational person who liked to help people and animals, accompanied a Citibank representative to the location of a foreclosed residence shortly before noon.
Latest reports state that the former owner, Joseph Francis Corey, 65, had been evicted the day before and bank employees believed that a dog might have been abandoned on the property. Earlier reports stated that Corey told bank employees that he had no place to take his cats and dogs.
The unarmed ACO approached the home at 633 First Street with the Citibank employee to assure that no animals were left on the premises and to remove any animals which might have been abandoned, believing that the house was vacated.
When they knocked on the door of the house, someone fired a single shotgun blast directly through the front door, hitting Officer Marcum in the upper body and grazing the bank representative’s neck.
The bank employee ran to the street and managed to flag down a volunteer police officer, who helped him move Officer Marcum to safety, but Marcum was already deceased when responding paramedics arrived, and they were unable to revive him.
Sacramento Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Ramos told the Republic.com it is unclear how Corey re-entered the home because the locks were changed on Tuesday, according to bank officials.
After the 911 report of the shooting, Sacramento County sheriff's deputies, Galt police, Elk Grove police and SWAT set up a perimeter near New Hope Road and 1st Street and police officers surrounded the two-story house, where the shooting suspect had barricaded himself inside, sheriff's Sgt. Jason Ramos said.
"We've got the place surrounded and we're evacuating nearby residents who are potentially at risk because they're in the line of fire," Sgt. Ramos told The Associated Press earlier Wednesday.
The gunman had not surrendered as of 11:30 Wednesday night, reported FOX40, despite the sheriff’s deputies firing numerous gas canisters into the home. He was believed to still be armed with at least one weapon.
Sgt. Ramos stated that a negotiator made contact with Corey by phone two times late Wednesday night and Corey seemed “animated and angry.”
Negotiations continued through approximately 5:17 a.m. on Thursday, according to News10.net. At that time, Corey was finally taken into custody and removed from the scene, according to the spokesperson for Galt Police Department.
County records show that Citibank gave Corey a three-day notice to leave the Galt home in January, but he refused to leave. Corey filed objections through a lengthy legal process and finally Citibank asked the court for a summary judgment in October, which was granted.
Documents showed that the court ordered the sheriff's department to take all legal steps necessary to remove the Corey from the premises, according to News10.net.
Bank officials state that they knew Corey had at least one dog while he was living at the home and asked an animal control officer to assist in case the dog was still in the home.
According to reports, Citibank spokesperson Marc Rodgers issued the following statement, "We are aware of the situation and are working with authorities to confirm the facts. Our thoughts go out to all those involved."
A neighbor described Corey as a “recluse” to FOX40. Deputies told FOX40 that Corey had between eight and 10 dogs and cats and that they might be dealing with an animal-hoarding situation, which would lessen the effects of the gas.
A later Fox40 report stated the station, “...spoke with a woman who claimed to be his ex-wife. The woman told FOX40 that Corey has eight dogs, some of them Pit Bulls, and that he’s a hoarder.”
There have been no reports that any animals were found in the home.
The neighbor told FOX reporters that, in his 10 years living in the area, he had only seen Corey come out of his house once.
Although a fatal shooting of an animal control officer is rare, the daily dangers they face in enforcing humane laws and responding to calls to rescue lost, injured, neglected and abused animals are very real and rarely recognized.
The grief that is felt by a former coworker of Officer Marcum in the aftermath of this senseless tragedy was expressed on Facebook:
“He was a Sac County officer. Been there a long time and even his wife had been an officer then worked in the office while I was there. Nice man- easy going. Was always helping the other guys. One of the least confrontational ACOs we had. Was just a routine call of animals left in a house. They don't wear protection vest. Very sad day.”
Sacramento County Animal Control Director David Dickinson told KCRA 3 the death hit his department hard and the office had closed for the day. The city of Sacramento animal control was responding to emergency calls to allow Officer Marcum’s colleagues to grieve for the loss of one of their own.