Crime - Sacto 911

Suspect booked in slaying of retired Stockton police officer

Rafael Watts
Rafael Watts Booking photo, Stockton Police Department

The man accused in the death of a retired Stockton police officer was booked into San Joaquin County Jail on suspicion of murder.

Rafael Watts, 59, was booked Wednesday afternoon after he was medically cleared from a local hospital, according to a Stockton Police Department news release.

Watts is accused in the death of 75-year-old Laurits “Pepe” Petersen. Petersen died after the two were involved in a struggle in the 8300 block of Tam O Shanter Drive on Tuesday morning. A good Samaritan who tried to intervene was injured but is expected to survive, according to police.

Watts reportedly fled into the surrounding neighborhood but was spotted by officers and taken into custody with the assistance of a police dog.

Police, in a news release issued late Tuesday afternoon, said Petersen had a distinguished law enforcement career spanning more than 30 years. He served with the Stockton Police Department from 1968 until his retirement in 1998, then worked as an investigator for the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office until 2004.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy