Crime - Sacto 911

Stockton stabbing victim ID’d as retired police officer

Laurits “Pepe” Peterson had a distinguished law enforcement career spanning more than 30 years.
Laurits “Pepe” Peterson had a distinguished law enforcement career spanning more than 30 years. Stockton Police Department

The man who died in an apparent stabbing Tuesday morning in Stockton was identified by police as 75-year-old Laurits “Pepe” Petersen, a retired Stockton police officer.

Petersen died after a struggle near a Stockton park that also resulted in injury to a good Samaritan who tried to come to his aid.

Officer Joseph Silva, Stockton Police Department spokesman, said officers responded about 10:45 a.m. to calls regarding a stabbing in the 8300 block of Tam O’Shanter Drive, across the street from a park. He said a man who witnessed the incident tried to intervene. A man believed to have been the attacker fled into the surrounding neighborhood, where he was spotted by officers and taken into custody with the assistance of a police dog, Silva said.

The other man involved in the struggle, later identified as Petersen, and the good Samaritan were taken to a hospital, where Petersen died. Silva said the good Samaritan, a 59-year-old man, was injured but is expected to survive.

The suspect, identified by police as Rafael Watts, 59, is in custody accused of homicide.

Police, in a news release issued late Tuesday afternoon, said Petersen had a distinguished law enforcement career spanning more than 30 years. He was hired by the Stockton Police Department on Sept. 9, 1968, and served until his retirement in September 1998. During his three decades with the department, Petersen worked in the patrol and investigations divisions. As a detective, he received a recognition award for his thorough police work on a 1995 homicide case, police said.

After retiring from the Stockton Police Department, Petersen continued in law enforcement, working as an investigator for the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office until 2004.

Police have not released any information regarding the circumstances that led to the stabbing.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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