Joseph Francis Corey, the Galt man suspected in the cold-blooded killing of an unarmed animal control officer on Wednesday, was a man of varied skills — and faces.
To some, he was a master electrician with a gift for detail work.
He had a sense of community spirit, serving a term on the Galt Fire Protection District board, and had a special interest in the district budget.
But to others, he was a creepy, reclusive type who lived with a collection of cats and dogs in a drab two-story home surrounded by a large, weed-strewn lot."I'm betting that he flipped," said Dale Templeton, who served with Corey on the former fire district board. "I'm not justifying what he did. There's no excuse for that, but it seemed like he was a recluse over there."
After keeping police at bay for 17 hours, Corey, 65, was arrested at 5:02 a.m. Thursday. Police say he fatally shot Roy Curtis Marcum, a Sacramento animal control officer, with a shotgun and slightly wounded two locksmiths.
Marcum and the locksmiths had come to Corey's home in the 600 block of First Street because Corey had been evicted the previous day and said he couldn't care for his multiple dogs and cats.
The house was supposed to be empty, but as the officer and locksmiths approached, Corey fired through the door, police said. One of the locksmiths waved down a volunteer with the Galt Police Department, who called for help. Officers arrived and moved Marcum to a safe place, but paramedics were unable to revive him.
Dozens of officers from multiple agencies then secured the area, evacuating at least a dozen homes, before trying to contact Corey. Officers had multiple phone conversations with the suspect, but he stopped answering.
Police fired tear gas canisters into the home at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. At 5 a.m. Thursday, Corey went into the garage to get a dog and the SWAT team used a Taser and arrested him. Corey was first taken to a local hospital because force was used to arrest him. He was then booked into Sacramento County jail on homicide charges.
'Quiet, kind of strange and weird'
On Thursday at about noon, one block of First Street was still blocked off with police tape. Members of Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation Department removed cats and dogs from Corey's home, and homicide detectives scoured the yard for evidence. Police volunteers escorted residents to their homes between the police tape.
Piles of trash were in front of Corey's two-story home, where he lived alone, and in the backyard was a dog kennel and tall weeds.
For eight years, Jose Perez lived next door to Corey. During the first two years he lived there, Perez only saw Corey twice.
"We never crossed the wall," Perez said, pointing to the fence of the side yard Corey owned. "He was very quiet, kind of strange and weird. Most of the time he stayed in the house. I never even saw him leave to go to work."
Perez told his 7-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter never to speak to Corey and to avoid the home.
"I told them, 'Stay away from that guy, and if he offers you something, don't take it,'" Perez said.
In his backyard, Perez gestured to the home and said Corey had put up scaffolding and left it for about four years, but never actually did any repairs or renovations. Recently, Corey started working with a friend on a welding project, possibly on a trailer, Perez said. Those were some of the few times he had ever seen anyone visit his neighbor.
Perez also pointed out the large, overgrown side yard separating the two properties where Corey kept an old boat and would occasionally chain his dogs.
The number of dogs outside fluctuated, Perez said, but at times, there would be five chained in different places.
"I felt sorry for those dogs because most of the time they were outside by themselves," Perez said. "I never called animal control because I never saw him hit them or anything, but I felt bad for them."
Served on fire board
But the man who neighbors called a recluse was also involved in community service. Corey was elected to the Galt fire board in 2000, placing third behind Rick Haas and the late Bill Dufur. Corey chose to not seek re-election in 2004.
Two years later, the Galt Fire Protection District merged with the Elk Grove-based Cosumnes Community Services District.
Guy Rutter served on the former Galt fire board for two years with Corey, but said he never knew him well.
"He'd come in, have the meeting and then leave," said Rutter, who now serves on the Cosumnes board that serves Galt.
Professionally, Corey fought fires caused by radiation, chemical hazards and metals at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He retired in 1988.
Through his professional background, Corey apparently was a master electrician.
"He wasn't a friend per se, but he helped me out on electrical projects," Templeton said. "He would take time on details to make sure it was done right. He's a guy you wanted to work on your house."
Templeton recalls his attention to details, especially when it came to the fire district budget. However, he didn't know Corey very well.
"On the surface, he was well-mannered, really," Templeton said. "The only thing I heard him talk about was his dogs."
Nevertheless, Templeton said he hadn't seen Corey in about seven years, so he had no personal knowledge about Corey's financial troubles.
Templeton recalled that Corey didn't have medical insurance, so he didn't see a doctor after he fell off a ladder and broke some ribs several years ago.
Subsisted on disability
Public records show that Corey, a one-time contractor, owned the home from 2006 until a bank put it in foreclosure in 2011. He filed for bankruptcy protection in 2005 and again earlier this year, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Corey's only income came from disability payments of less than $2,000 a month, according to bankruptcy filings. Among his few possessions he listed in 2005 were a Ruger .22-caliber rifle and six Catahoulas, a breed of dog.
Corey was previously unknown to Galt Police, Lt. Jim Uptegrove said Thursday.
The only record they have of him is as a witness in a recent neighborhood burglary.
Even though Corey was a mystery to Perez and he had concerns, the neighbor never thought Corey was capable of what happened on Wednesday. He says he is shaken up.
"All along, I had a real weird feeling, but I never expected this. I never suspected he would do this," Perez said.
Yet Perez said he no longer feels concerned about his kids interacting with Corey.
"I'm not worried anymore. It's a weird feeling, but now I actually feel safer," Perez said.