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Vigil held in Joshua Tree for man killed in deputy-involved shooting

The family of a man killed in a deputy-involved shooting last month held a vigil for him in Joshua Tree Sunday afternoon. Friends and family gathered to remember Royce Robertson, 33, who was also the founder of Joshua Joshua Tree Coffee Company.

The vigil started at the coffee ship with people lining up to place a single white rose near an image of Robertson.

"We all loved him because he didn’t do anything but love others," said Jennifer Goodson, a friend of Robertson's.

Later on, people walked across the street where a podium and chairs were set up. Several people shared some of their fondest memories of Robertson, while others simply talked about the person he was. Many spoke on the love Robertson had for the community.

"Royce was pure love," said Goodson.

Goodson works at the coffee shop. To her, Robertson was a dear friend.

"It’s an awful void. You go to the farmer’s market, you expect to see him there. You go to work, you expect him to pop in and tell you hello and give you a hug. You just expect to see him and he’s not here and the loss is profound and devastating."

Robertson's sister, Demetria Robertson, was among those to speak about her brother before the crowd.

"There’s a huge hole in the world now without Royce and he would have done so much more and touched so many more lives," said Demetria.

Royce was shot and killed by Riverside County sheriff's deputies on February 15 at the Desert Horizons Country Club in Indian Wells.

The day of the shooting Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco confirmed to News Channel 3 that the incident started at the intersection of Simon Drive and Highway 111 in La Quinta.

The sheriff said the suspect, who they later identified as Robertson, got in a heated argument with another driver. They said he threatened to kill the driver, and pulled out a gun.

Later on deputies tried pulling Robertson over.

The other driver called 911. Deputies later located Robertson, who was driving a black Mercedes. The Riverside County sheriff said deputies followed Robertson to the Desert Horizons Country Club.

The sheriff said Robertson told security that police were following him and he was able to get inside the country club. Deputies followed Robertson, who then made a u-turn upon entering the gate, got out of his car, and pulled out a gun, according to Sheriff Chad Bianco. That's when deputies opened fire.

Meanwhile, Demetria Robertson has said she believes her brother had a BB gun.

"The DA doesn’t return my text messages, I’ve texted him multiple times," said Demetria.

"To me he was murdered and not only was he murdered but they’ve treated my family very badly, law enforcement has. From making fun of his jewelry when I picked up the things that were on his body when he died," said Demetria.

The sheriff's department hasn't released new information on the case since the day after the shooting.

News Channel 3 reached out to the sheriff for comment. We are waiting to hear back.

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Shelby Nelson

Shelby Nelson is a News Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. She joined our team in September 2019 after living in San Francisco for 6 years. Learn more about Shelby here.

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