Fusako Petrus was known as a loving and caring woman, who would do anything for her friends. Now she's known as something else: a hero.
Petrus, 86, was walking with her friend a long their normal exercise route when a man jumped out and attacked them. The man knocked down the unnamed friend and began sexually assaulting her.
Petrus didn't hesitate.
With a small stick she used to help her on her walks, Petrus began to attack the man. Beating him repeatedly until he stopped his assault. Unfortunately the man retaliated, beating both of the elderly women before fleeing the area.
Petrus was pronounced dead at the scene.
Later that day another assault on a senior was reported. This time a 92-year-old woman was found beaten and sexually assaulted. Neven Glen Butler, 18, was arrested for that assault, and was later matched to the attack on Petrus.
He is charged with sexual assault, elder abuse, and murder. He's being held without bail.
The neighborhood that Petrus lived is shaken with grief.
A shrine has been constructed near her home. Candles and flowers decorate the chain link fence that surrounds her yard - the only thing her friends could do for a woman who had given them so much.
"I don't know anybody who would not love her and appreciate her," said Don Hines, a friend of Petrus.
No one was surprised that Petrus tried to save her friend. Everyone describes her the same way. Brave, giving, generous.
Hines said that she would go on walks daily, and would always play down concerns about safety. Hines said she'd tell them "Don't worry, I've got a friend who goes with me. And I've got a stick."
Butler, the suspect, was by all accounts a strong athlete and likable student at the High School near where Petrus was assaulted. Faculty and friends are shocked at the crime.
He's hired high profile defense attorney Linda Parisi and she's promising that this case is more than it seems.
"There's a lot more to find out about this young man and just the whole set of circumstances," she told media.
What happens now will remain to be seen, but it certainly won't help soothe the heartache of this California community.