Veterinarian, 88, Killed After Catching Burglar in Rolando Clinic: San Diego Police

When police arrived, a "concerned citizen" had detained the suspect behind the animal-care center

NBC Universal, Inc.

An arraignment hearing was postponed Friday for a 37-year-old man who was expected to face a murder charge for allegedly killing an 88-year-old veterinarian who caught him burglarizing his Rolando-area clinic, authorities reported.

San Diego police believe the veterinarian likely interrupted a burglary-in-progress at the veterinary clinic in the 7000 block of El Cajon Boulevard at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The man and suspect, identified as 37-year-old San Diego resident Patrick O’Brien, got into some sort of confrontation that left the victim with head and other injuries, police said.

When police arrived, a "concerned citizen" had detained the suspect behind the animal-care center, according to police. Police located the injured man inside and medics transported him to a nearby hospital but he did not survive his injuries.

Police arrested O'Brien and booked him into custody on one count of first-degree murder. He was being held without bail, with arraignment scheduled for Friday afternoon.

The veterinarian has been identified by police as Clark Kelly. A friend and a business owner confirmed his identity to NBC 7 on Friday. The long-time vet was described as "a great figure in the neighborhood."

"He was somebody we could come to. He worked with you, he wasn’t greedy. He was a wonderful, wonderful man and we’ve lost a very good person," the veterinarian's friend and 30-year client Joseph Mendez said. "Him and his wife were just cornerstones of the community. We’ve been robbed of somebody very valuable, and I hope the young man who did it pays with his life."

Contact Us