|Many came to a Saturday night vigil and lit candles in honor of Forrest Seagrave of Kelseyville, Calif., who died after being shot in a robbery on Friday, January 18, 2013. Photo by Gail Salituri.|
KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – Those who knew him say that Forrest Seagrave considered everyone he knew to be a friend, and that friends – in turn – became his family.
On Saturday’s cold, clear night, hundreds of those extended family members gathered at Mt. Konocti Gas and Mart on Main Street in Kelseyville, where – less than 24 hours before – the 33-year-old Seagrave had been mortally wounded, shot in the chest during an armed robbery.
About an hour before the 7 p.m. vigil began, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office released a clip of surveillance video taken from a camera on the side of the store.
The male suspect, attired in dark clothing with his face obscured by some kind of mask or bandanna, can be seen walking along the Douglas Road side of the store at an almost casual pace.
He disappears from sight and moments later walks back toward the front of the store, appearing to adjust the covering on his face before passing under the camera.
When he is last seen, the time stamp says it was nearly 10:43 p.m. A Saturday report from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were dispatched to the robbery at 10:45 p.m.
After viewing the video, some readers posted on Lake County News’ Facebook page and on Twitter that they found it chilling and upsetting.
Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s Office investigators had been at the station most of Saturday conducting the investigation, and yellow crime scene tape still framed the station’s gas pump area and cordoned off the entry to the convenience store during the nighttime vigil.
A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.
Lifelong Kelseyville resident and county Supervisor Rob Brown thanked everyone for coming, saying it meant a lot to Seagrave’s family.
“It’s tough to see this,” said Brown of the tragedy of Seagrave’s murder.
|Hundreds of people gathered in Kelseyville, Calif., on Saturday, January 19, 2013, to honor Forrest Seagrave, who was mortally wounded in a late night shooting on Friday, January 18, 2013, at Mt. Konocti Gas and Mart, where he had worked for several years. Photo by Gail Salituri.|
While he guaranteed that the community would heal, he made an appeal to community members for information that could help law enforcement find Seagrave’s killer.
Catching the suspect, Brown said, is “going to require an effort from our community.”
Without help, it will be difficult for law enforcement to catch the shooter, said Brown, who ensured the group that law enforcement was working hard to solve the case.
Brown, who had led the effort to raise the reward money, said the store’s owners had contributed $2,000 to the reward. He also told Lake County News that a number of other local businesses, including Gossett Alarm and Calpine, had donated funds to the reward fund.
“Forrest is our family,” and that’s why the community needs to work together to catch the suspect, Brown told the crowd.
Dan Springer, who had been Seagrave’s fifth grade teacher, said the murder had hit local teachers hard.
“We don’t teach these kids so they can come to an end like this,” he said.
Springer recalled Seagrave as a “goofy” child with a lot of energy who liked to crawl under chairs.
“We teachers feel this too,” he said.
Seagrave’s brother, Christian, told Lake County News that he had seen his brother on his 33rd birthday, which took place on Dec. 27. “I still don’t know what to say,” he said of his brother’s death.
|Candles and roses – here offered by Rosanna Colp – were shared at the memorial Saturday, January 19, 2013, in Kelseyville, Calif., for Forrest Seagrave, who died after being shot during a robbery on Friday, January 18, 2013. Photo by Gail Salituri.|
Seagrave’s sister, Rebekah Behrens, told Lake County News after the vigil that she was grateful to the community for coming and showing support for her brother and family.
“He loved all of his friends,” she said, adding that he was glad that everyone showed up.
“He’s in a better place,” she said. “He’s in heaven.”
Brown said funds are still being accepted to help increase the reward for Seagrave’s killer. Checks can be made out to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office-Forrest Seagrave Reward fund. A special account is being set up just for the funds.
For more information about the reward fund, call Brown at 707-349-2628.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 707-263-2690.
|Forrest Seagrave of Kelseyville was mortally wounded on Friday, January 18, 2013, during a nighttime robbery at Mt. Konocti Gas and Mart in Kelseyville, Calif., where he had worked for several years. He was remembered at a nighttime vigil on Saturday, January 19, 2013, at the station. Courtesy photo.|
Friends ask for justice, not vengeance
Seagrave’s murder has left many community members with concerns about what is happening to the town of Kelseyville.
Longtime resident Carrie Lauenroth was struggling with how to react in the wake of the crime.
“I have such a heavy heart today and I don't know if it is because of the senseless death of a kind hearted person who would never hurt a flea, and never knew how many people loved and cared for him, or if it is because of the rapid death of our wonderful little town as we have known it,” she said.
“I think it is a combination of both, and I am both scared and saddened,” she said.
Before the Saturday night vigil, Lake County News spoke with two of Seagrave’s childhood friends, Tom Ramirez of Kelseyville and Eric Graybill, who now lives in Austin, Texas.
Both men found out about his death on Facebook.
“How he was taken away wasn’t something anyone could have foreseen,” Graybill said.
After finding out, Ramirez – who lives near the convenience store – had to leave for work in Clearlake. He said he saw crime scene tape and people removing boxes from the store.
|A picture board of Forrest Seagrave’s life was shared at the candlelight vigil in his memory on Saturday, January 19, 2013, in Kelseyville, Calif. Photo by Gail Salituri.|
Ramirez and Graybill remembered Seagrave as a friendly, thoughtful and generous person.
“He was very soft spoken during our childhood, but he opened up a lot as an adult,” said Ramirez.
Graybill remembered Seagrave easily moving amongst the different cliques at Kelseyville High School. “He was always at the center of everything. Everybody knew who he was.”
He added, “He didn’t exclude anybody from his circle of friends because he saw everybody as friends.”
Ramirez said Seagrave enjoyed speaking with the customers who came into the store. “He treated everyone with respect.”
Graybill said he visited Lake County in 2011, and stopped by the convenience store so he could introduce his wife to Seagrave.
“We just talked like no time had passed at all,” Grayville said. “Same old guy, just working like the rest of us do.”
The death of Seagrave has shaken up those who knew him, said Graybill. “He was such a nice person that people who are on the other side of the planet feel him leaving.”
He added, “We never figured Lake County would be a place where something like this would happen.”
Said Ramirez, “Just think about what value we lost in him.”
Both worried about the anger in the community turning to potential violence, emphasizing that Seagrave wouldn’t have wanted that.
Seagrave’s approach, said Graybill, would be to consider what can be done to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future.
“I don’t think Forrest would want us to hold onto his loss and be sad about it,” but would want people to move on and learn to laugh again, Graybill said.
Email Elizabeth Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow her on Twitter, @ERLarson, or Lake County News, @LakeCoNews.