FALLBROOK, Calif. - Scores of people were expected to pack a candlelight vigil Sunday night for Larry Robinson, a Fallbrook musician who died after being severely beaten during a robbery at the Temecula guitar shop where he worked, friends and colleagues said.
Robinson, 64, was found Friday night badly beaten, tied up and unconscious inside Pete's Music & Guitar Shop in Old Town Temecula, and he died the next day from his injuries. Riverside County Sheriff's detectives were investigating it as a murder-robbery and have made no arrests.
Friends of Robinson are trying their best not to think about the horrific way he died.
"I got home and they told me that he'd been beaten to death at the music store," said Lee Foreman, who lives across the street from Robinson and his wife.
Foreman moved to Fallbrook more than 20 years ago and discovered – to his surprise – living across the street was someone who was born in his same hometown of Long Beach.
"Ending up here on the street with somebody that you came from the same town with is kind of interesting... but it's a very sad day," said Foreman. "He was a good man."
Robinson was described as a kind and talented soul who was full of music and love.
His coworker praised him as a great guitarist and a good listener.
"Larry, as a guitar player, laid down a groove that you could land a 747 on," said Paul Beach in an interview with City News Service. "He was that way as a human being."
A native of Long Beach, Robinson was an affable person who could easily "make friends with anybody," said Gary Holmes, another friend.
As a friend of 30 years, Beach said he was distraught. "I can't tell you how much I miss him."
Beach told CNS that he and Robinson had performed Wednesday night at a steak house near their homes in Fallbrook. Beach lived about a half-mile away from Robinson, and their wives were close, he said.
Robinson had been performing for decades, and was a member of Things to Come, which had played with the Byrds and other acts in 1967. The band was a minor player in the "Summer of Love" rock scene, and was on the bill at the 1968 Newport Pop Festival in Orange County, along with Steppenwolf, Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead.
The singer and songwriter had written and recorded six albums, including three with The Dorados. His first solo album, "Old California Town," was released in 2007.
The vigil was scheduled for 8 p.m. at Pete's Music & Guitar Shop, where Robinson worked as a part-time employee for seven or eight years, store owner Pete Surowski said. The store is at 28780 Old Town Front St. in Temecula.
Surowski said he was unable to reach Robinson by phone at closing time. A customer found Robinson behind an amplifier in one of the aisles, Surowski said.
Robinson was a not a salesman but simply a music lover who wanted to match customers to the right guitar "so you can express your art form in the right way," Holmes said.
Robinson wasn't much of a chatterbox, but he was definitely a good listener, his co-worker said.
"He was really a great friend to me. He always loved a good funny story and he adored his wife," Holmes said of Robinson. "There was no need to carry things this far. It's just sickening."
Jessica Cinnamon worked with Robinson's wife at The Packing House where Robinson used to play.
"He was actually the first person I ever saw play live music and he brought a lot of famous people in through the years, through The Packing House, famous musicians... and he was a staple in the community," she said.
Now, her thoughts are turning toward Robinson's family.
"I'm just devastated for his family and I can't imagine something that violent in old town Temecula," Cinnamon said. "It's a loss… it's a big loss."