A jury in San Francisco on Friday acquitted Peter Rocha, 55, in the death of Glen Park’s Loe Hainzl, 94, who had been walking his dog in Glen Canyon when he was attacked by the morning of Memorial Day in 2020, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Initially, witnesses said that Rocha, who was sitting on a bench in Glen Canyon, hit Hainzl as the elderly man walked by him. Hainzl fell, hit his head and later died in the hospital.
However, the jury heard witnesses testify that Rocha did not hit Hainzl, who instead tripped and fell on his head after he’d walked about 30 feet away from Rocha.
Hainzl was loved by his neighbors, who described him as someone who walked miles every day, repaired his own home and lent a hand to others.
“This was a man who felt like he was cheating himself and his dog if he walked six miles a day instead of seven or eight,” said neighbor Stephany Wilkes. She remembered him grabbing his wheelbarrow when she and her partner were moving a mountain of soil to the garden they were building.
“Even though it had a deflated tire, that 90-some-year-old man wheeled that thing (his dog Rip along for the ride, of course) all the way up a steep San Francisco hill for us,” said Wilkes in a heartfelt post on Facebook following Hainzl’s death.
The Glen Park News published in a story about Hainzl several days after he died.
More from the Chronicle‘s Heather Knight on the incident.