About 100 friends and family members attended a candlelight vigil at Forced Induction Motorsports in South Windsor Saturday evening for the two victims who were attacked at the business last week.
Business owner Robert Lareau, 28, of Enfield, and employee Ryan Kelleher, 21, of Windsor, were allegedly attacked by 27-year-old Meriden resident Nathaniel “Nate” Chambers at Forced Induction Motorsports on Tuesday night.
Lareau sustained significant head injuries and was unconscious when emergency personnel arrived at the business located at 51 Edwin Road.
Kelleher, who was allegedly beaten with an unloaded rifle, also sustained injuries to his head and face. He has since been released from the hospital and he attended the vigil Saturday evening, though he declined to be interviewed by Patch.
Everyone who spoke on record described Lareau as an extremely generous and hard-working man who was the victim of a shocking act of violence.
“Everyone says that he will give you the shirt off his back,” said Angela St. Pierre, Lareau’s sister. “He’ll do anything for anybody.”
“He’s a tough guy, but he has a big heart. He’s pretty much the one who is working 100 hours, just trying to fix everything for everybody, just trying to do favors for everyone and keep everybody joking,” added close friend Nicole Gobetz. “He barely has enough time for himself. He’s always one to take care of everybody else.”
Kelleher was interviewed by police, who issued an arrest warrant for Chambers on charges of conspiracy to commit assault in the first degree and conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree. Chambers still remains at large.
Lareau is still in critical condition, though Gobetz noted that when he was admitted to the hospital, he was given a 20 percent chance of survival. Those chances have increased to 70 percent, Gobetz said.
“He’s making small little movements even though he’s in an induced coma, but he is making improvements, which is what we can hope for as opposed to bad news,” Gobetz said.
“We’re holding out hope,” St. Pierre said. “That’s all we can do right now.”
St. Pierre said that she has been reading to her brother and will take messages from supporters to his hospital room.
During the vigil, supporters signed large cards and said prayers, along with words of encouragement, for Lareau.
“We’re just trying to stay positive and be supportive for the family,” Gobetz said. “That’s the most important thing.”
Gobetz also said that the hope was to also have Chambers caught by police.
“It’s important, because we need to know what happened,” said Gobetz, who added that she knew Chambers from meeting him at Forced Induction Motorsports. “Every conversation that we’ve had has been about the military, about him being a chaplain and just good stuff, working on his car and stuff like that.
“I’ve never gotten the idea that he could do something like this. Honestly, it’s still hard to believe. Disbelief.”
Still, St. Pierre and Gobetz were both thankful for the support that Lareau has received.
Indeed, at one point during the vigil, everyone in attendance turned to a person taking a video of the event and yelled “Get better Bob!”
“It’s amazing,” St. Pierre said. “It’s incredible how much love and support and encouragment we’ve had.
“Thank you. We love you all.”