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Newspaper Reporter Dies Protecting Wife

May 21, 1988

EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) _ A newspaper reporter was stabbed to death during a struggle after he rescued his wife from a man who was trying to rape her, authorities said.

Steve Petix, 31, of The Californian, had gone home for lunch Friday and found his wife, Vickie, 23, being assaulted by a man with a knife, said police Lt. Bob Lein.

″(Petix) immediately injected himself into the situation by pulling the subject off his wife. She was freed and able to get out of the apartment, which she did,″ Lein said.

Mrs. Petix, who suffered cuts and bruises, telephoned police. When officers arrived and entered the couple’s second-floor apartment, they found Petix lying on the floor, fatally wounded.

″He was the most peaceful guy I ever met, but he was a take-charge kind of guy,″ said Petix’s brother, Mark, a reporter for The Times-Advocate of Escondido. ″He would have laid his life down. That would be his first thought, to protect her.″

At The Californian, where Petix worked for six years, managing editor Jim Slusher said: ″We deal with this sort of thing all the time. Yet, we seem sort of unprepared to deal with it when it happens to one of us.″

″He was a model reporter, he was a model for human beings, actually,″ Slusher said.

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