100-year-old veteran dies, Sanger Police treat as homicide

FRESNO, Calif.

100-year-old /*Joe Fischer*/ was admitted Monday after suffering from broken ribs, a punctured lung and multiple cuts and bruises.

/*Sanger Police*/ are now treating this as a homicide after investigators determined Fischer's injuries were more consistent with an assault - rather than a fall. Family and friends are asking for your help in finding the person responsible.

/*Eli Cruz*/ said, "They had moved him to another room last night and apparently he was getting a little bit better."

Friend, Eli Cruz was feeling optimistic - Thursday night - when 100-year-old Joe Fischer started showing signs of improvement - for the first time since being admitted to the hospital three days earlier.

"I actually had a conversation with him and asked him a few questions," said Cruz. "I basically told him not to be his grumpy self to the nurses and he said he would."

Cruz - along with Fischer's family had even started making plans for the military veteran's one-hundred-and-first birthday, when Fischer took a turn for the worse - and died from complications stemming from his injuries.

Cruz said, "The only thing about Joe is he wasn't ready to go, he basically stated he wanted to stay alive."

Now they're asking for your help in finding the person who put him here. They believe Fischer was attacked sometime around noon Monday by a man he let inside his Sanger apartment.

"Last night he said let's catch them," said Cruz. "I was injured by someone."

A neighbor told investigators she heard two thuds prompting her to check on Fischer. She told officers - when she looked through his screen door and asked Fischer if he was okay - another younger sounding male voice answered back. Police later found a partial finger print - and are now working to identify who it belongs to.

Officer Kevin McInerney said, "Not many people will assault a 100-year-old man, not even for money. This is a horrible crime and we are working diligently to solve it."

In the meantime, both officers and the victim's friends and family are asking anyone who may have seen something to call Sanger Police.

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