Crime - Sacto 911

Slain Goodwill employee ‘had an ability to make everyone love him’

A bicyclist rides in front of the apartment complex Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, where Frank Davis Knight, 58, was shot and killed Monday. Knight had kept a steady routine of going to work every day at Goodwill Industries and was identified as the person who was shot to death in southern Sacramento County.
A bicyclist rides in front of the apartment complex Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, where Frank Davis Knight, 58, was shot and killed Monday. Knight had kept a steady routine of going to work every day at Goodwill Industries and was identified as the person who was shot to death in southern Sacramento County. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Like clockwork, Frank Davis Knight showed up to work every morning at 6.

Monday started as just another day for the Sacramento man, but as he walked out of his apartment to a waiting Paratransit car, Knight was gunned down by unknown assailants.

“He was God’s perfect baby,” said his sister, Paula Ringler. “He lived the most innocent and simple life.”

Born with cerebral palsy, Knight, 58, was legally blind and nearly deaf, family and friends said Wednesday. The eldest of seven children, he moved out on his own two years ago to be independent for the first time in his life, said Ringler, 48.

Breaking into tears, she added, “What made him so special is that he had an ability to make everyone love him.”

Knight was a 38-year veteran of Goodwill Industries, serving as a dock worker and most recently a door greeter at the outlet store on Franklin Boulevard. At the Goodwill plant, colleagues remembered him for his contagious sense of humor and laser focus on getting the job done.

“When people weren’t moving fast enough, he would give them a hard time,” said Charles Brisker, 51, Goodwill’s dock supervisor.

Clark Russell, 45, the transportation manager, joked, “He was very pushy. He even kept me in line.”

Sacramento County sheriff’s officials say the shooting appeared to be targeted, but no motive or suspect description has been established.

“This guy didn’t live a high-risk lifestyle that would be conducive to the possibility of getting killed,” said Deputy Tony Turnbull, a department spokesman.

Knight was killed in the 4700 block of 50th Avenue at the Sun Valley apartment complex about 5:30 a.m. Monday. Deputies found Knight with gunshot wounds to his upper torso. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Wednesday, neighbors said they were too stricken to talk about the shooting. Sun Valley officials declined comment.

Knight and his brother Dale lived with their mother Irene until her death from cancer in 2011, Ringler said. She wanted to bring Knight to live with her family, but he wouldn’t leave their brother, a methamphetamine addict, Ringler said.

In 2013, Knight realized he had to move out.

“That’s when he told us he really wanted to be independent for the first time in his life. That’s why he was living in those apartments,” Ringler said.

Christie Roberts, 57, went to the same Mormon church as Knight and served as his caretaker, helping him shop and pay bills. She said the complex was the only place Knight could afford, at $750 a month.

Roberts described Knight as a “person who lived his religion religiously.”

“He would read Scriptures on his iPad and blow up the text really big,” Roberts said.

The family has planned a funeral for Oct. 16, which would have been Knight’s 59th birthday. The 9 a.m. service is to take place at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5850 Florin Blvd., Sacramento.

Goodwill Industries of Sacramento Valley and Northern Nevada is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the killers.

The public can call the Sheriff’s Department with tips 916-874-5115.

Richard Chang: 916-321-1018, @RichardYChang

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