Murdered hiker grieved from across the country

Murdered hiker grieved from across the country

RED BLUFF, Calif. - The man shot and killed Friday while hiking with a friend northeast of Red Bluff is being remembered and grieved in his hometown on Martha's Vineyard.

69-year-old Francis "Pat" Gregory was visiting from tiny West Tilsbury, on Martha's Vineyard Island in Massachusetts, when he was struck down.

A retired teacher, owner of a successful education business and moderator of town government meetings, Cynthia Mitchell, a friend and colleague of 20 years, said Gregory was a pillar of the community.

"Absolutely everybody on the Vineyard knew him," Mitchell said over the phone Sunday from her home on Martha's Vineyard. "You would not find a person in this community who didn't adore him."

Mitchell is a town selectman in West Tilsbury, a government position similar to city council members in California. It's in that position that she worked closely with Gregory.

"His ability in our town meetings were, I would say, if not legendary certainly known for the civil and respectful tone," she said.

Gregory was found dead of a gunshot wound Friday afternoon on the Iron Canyon Trailhead right off Highway 36 northeast of Red Bluff.

Sheriff's deputies revealed Saturday Gregory and a friend were robbed by a suspect then shot and left to die.

Gregory's friend, a Manton man, was airlifted to Enloe Medical Center and is expected to survive.

Back in West Tilsbury, a makeshift memorial has been created outside of Gregory's business.

Signs covered with written words of remembrance for a man loved by so many.

"It's just this supreme irony that who was so beloved was struck down so senselessly," Mitchell said. "People are just having a hard time making sense of that."

When Gregory is brought home, Mitchell said the community will be waiting with open arms.

"The memorial services for people who have lived here are very well attended but this will be of a whole other order," she said.

Gregory's killer is still on the loose and considered armed and dangerous.

He's described as a white man, about six feet tall with short black hair and a mustache.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Tehama County Sheriff's Department.

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