Music was an escape for a veteran police officer who was slain in the line of duty, his fellow bandmates recalled.
Keith Boyer not only served the community in 25 years at the Whittier Police Department, he also played drums in a classic rock tribute and cover band that often performed for charity.
His bandmates at Mrs. Jones' Revenge was among the hundreds who mourned the fallen officer on Monday.
"We're still in shock," said Ron Adams, who plays bass in the band.
Top news of the day
"We're still struggling to compose ourself, beat back the anger. This didn't need to happen."
Boyer and another officer were shot by a man who allegedly stole a vehicle and struck two other cars at a stop light, police said. Boyer was pronounced dead at the hospital. The other officer, Patrick Hazel, was in stable condition. The gunman was wounded after the police officers shot at him.
"He was responding to a traffic stop thinking he was going to help somebody in need in a traffic accident, and he was ambushed," Adams said.
Boyer's bandmates were worried that his work would take him away too soon.
"He's approaching retirement," said Terry Brown, who plays the keyboard and guitar. "I really hope he stays safe. I hope nothing gets to him before the end of his career."
Mrs. Jones' Revenge is based in Temecula and describes itself as "over 50 classic rock tribute bands rolled into one," according to its Facebook page.
Boyer was "irreplaceable," but bandmates believe he would have wanted them to carry on.
"One of the toughest things to grapple with today is that one of the best among us was stolen from our lives by one of the worst among us," said Jeff McNeal, lead vocalist.