Friends remember vibrant teen killed in spree
Sunday, October 16, 2011
OREGON CITY, Ore. (AP) — Cody Myers loved three things: God, his family and music. In that order.
His family and friends described him Saturday as a humble, smiling devout Christian who got along with anyone he met. He was a gifted guitar player who loved sharing his talent with the world — as a performer and as a teacher.
Myers was shot and killed two weeks ago, when police say he came into contact with two white supremacists on the run from the law and in need of a car. He encountered his killers in Newport, Ore., police say, where he'd gone alone to take in a jazz festival near the Pacific Ocean. David "Joey" Pedersen and Holly Grigsby have admitted involvement in his killing, and they remain jailed in California.
In a memorial service with 350 guests, Myers' friends in the music school at Clackamas Community College described a talented musician with an unmatched work ethic.
"His future, folks, was going to be bright," said Chris Garcia, a 40-year-old music student who chose Myers after an agonizing search for the perfect guitar player to join an ensemble. "He was on his way."
Myers was 19, less than half Garcia's age, yet the pair developed a deep friendship grounded in respect for music and for one another. Garcia admired Myers' work ethic, his long hours spent practicing and learning.
Often, Garcia said, Myers would get so caught up jamming with his friends that he'd miss the last bus home — a 90-minute journey to Lafayette from the school in Oregon City. Sometimes Myers would stay the night in Garcia's tiny apartment. But other days he'd insist on rolling out a sleeping bag and spending the night behind some bushes on campus, just to make sure he'd be in class on time the next morning.
Before he died, Myers told his family he wanted to help low-income children share his passion for music. Committed to seeing Myers' dream, even if he can't, his family has established the Cody Myers Musical Outreach Foundation to help underprivileged children get access to musical instruments, supplies and training. They're collecting donations at U.S. Bank locations.
Even as Myers' family was mourning his death this week, Grigsby spoke out from behind bars to defend killing him.
"It's unfortunate he was a white man, but it was to facilitate further action," she told The Appeal-Democrat newspaper in Yuba County, Calif. "In every war, there are going to be civilian casualties, and he was one of them."
Grigsby told the newspaper she and Pedersen were caught while they were driving to Sacramento in search of a "prominent Jew" to kill and hoping to encourage other white supremacists to take up arms. New details about the alleged killers' activities while on the lam also emerged Saturday. Grigsby's husband, Dannel Larson, said she stopped by their home late at night to collect clothes and fishing tackle; he didn't know why, and he didn't ask. A day or two later, he said, investigators came looking for Grigsby.
But Myers' friends and family weren't concerned with his killers or with his death. They wanted to mourn a friend who knew no generational boundaries.
"I'll miss him," said Hank, a musician with long, graying hair who took Myers to jam sessions with friends around the Willamette Valley. "It's kind of like a dream for me, that somebody like him would hang out with me."
Hank didn't give his last name.
Myers' 11-year-old nephew, Peyton Klein, said in a brief note read by his mother that he asked for a guitar for Christmas last year so Myers could teach him how to play.
"I only hope that I'm as cool as him some day," Peyton wrote. "I would like to be like him, and I looked up to him."