Friends drink final toast to slain Vietnam veteran

Posted at 11:19 PM, Aug 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-17 12:26:17-04

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - Dozens of people packed a room at Surfside Tap Room Thursday night for a well-known patron believed to have been killed in his home.

John Roth, 77, was a regular at the bar. More than 50 people came to celebrate his life and drink a final toast.

“He served in Vietnam, he was a topographer,” one of his friends, Tom Andrews said. “He crawled through rice paddies to make sure the maps had the right elevations.”

“We had some intense conversations, but we would always end up laughing,” he added.

Roth’s wife came home and found him dead Tuesday. Police say he suffered trauma to his upper body. His wife told police the garage door was open.

RELATEDOceanside police investigate death of 77-year-old man

Police are investigating Roth's death, calling it suspicious. 

“It was a really bad thing what happened to him,” said another friend, Chris Ulrey. “I called him 'pops' for like the past four and a half years. He’s kind of like a father figure to me.”

Roth’s wife did not attend the event. But his friends took donations for his family.