CHICO, Calif. - Sunday, 32-year-old Travis Robertson was robbed, then shot multiple times in the 900 block of West 4th Avenue.
His stepfather, Gerald Rice, said Robertson was mentally disabled and had been homeless for some time, but was finally starting to get his life on track.
"Knowing that he had cleaned up and was starting his life over fresh is what hit me the hardest," Rice said.
Two local agencies, Far Nothern and Turning Point, had helped move Robertson and his girlfriend into the apartments on 4th Avenue Sunday. It was here, just hours later, that Robertson was robbed then killed, steps away from his new home.
"Knowing Travis, I'm thinking they demanded his wallet and his phone and he resisted. Him having very few possessions, he wouldn't give it up without a fight," said Rice. "It was all he had."
The two suspects, Jason Jackson, 21, and Michaela Norman, 19, were arrested, but the man who raised Robertson said he's having a hard time coping with the fact that his stepson's life was taken so viciously.
"I'm trying to not to let the anger or bitterness get to me, just trying to think of the good stuff, the good times," Rice cried.
He said Robertson had a big heart for kids, loved fixing people's bikes and wasn't perfect, but helped wherever he could. "Hot tempered sometimes, growing up, but he'd give you the shirt off of his back," said Rice.
Robertson leaves behind three children, a disabled girlfriend and a stepfather who will always remember him for his big heart. "I love you, I'm proud of you and take care," were Rice's last words to Robertson.
The suspects were booked in the Butte County jail on an open count of murder and robbery. They fled the scene in a dark green Mercedes SUV but were found by police at the Flyers gas station on Cohasset Road within minutes of the shooting.