Joseph Williams, the 74-year-old man who died under suspicious circumstances in Apt. #3 at 2973 Folsom Street this Thursday afternoon spent his final days in a complex that neighbors called “troubled” because of the transient nature of most of its tenants.
The three-story pink apartment complex, across the street from the Iglesia Bautista Hispanoamericana, has 20 apartments filled with residents who rarely stay more than a year, residents and neighbors said.
“This place is known for drugs,” said Roberto Alfaro, who has lived in the building next door to the complex for the last 25 years. “People there come and go constantly. There are drugs and alcohol all the time.”
The place had been peaceful for the last year, said a woman in Apt. 13 – though she declined to open the door and would only speak through the intercom. She had, she said, lived there for two years, and never bonded with anyone at the complex, including Williams.
“I know people by looks,” she said referring to Williams. “I just knew he was old.”
Another resident, a woman named Ruth who said that she has lived in the building for a year now, described the deceased as “a cranky old man.”
“He was a loner who sat by the corner every day,” Ruth said. She never spoke with him, but frequently heard him telling others to “knock it off.”
Police spent several hours at the complex late Thursday afternoon after Williams’ body was discovered, and a medical examiner’s notice was posted outside his apartment door. Still, many of the building’s tenants were surprised to hear that a suspected homicide had occurred there.
Williams was found dead in his apartment by his brother at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. The brother contacted the police, who proceeded to launch an investigation for reasons that remain unclear.
The medical examiners hope the autopsy, which was scheduled for Friday, May 13, will reveal more details about the cause of death.
The apartment, situated on the second floor of the building, was still off-limits Friday morning. The neighbors whose apartment is across the bright white hallway from Williams’ said they were still too shocked to speak.
Ruth said Williams never hung out with anyone, but seemed healthy and took strolls every morning. He lived with two turtles, which Animal Care and Control took a few hours after his death.
The turtles will be disposed of if they are not claimed in the next five days, Animal Control representatives said.