The man, who had worked as a lighting technician for major musical acts, was also mourned by country artist Randy Travis, among other friends and acquantances.
Thomas Roberts, 68, suffered a gunshot wound to the chest Sunday at a home in East Nashville, according to a police affidavit. Upon arrival, officers found Roberts on the porch, and a handgun next to his wife Christine Roberts, police said.
Roberts died at the scene.
“It sounded like it could have been a firework and that’s what we thought it was, and then the police showed up with all the lights and everything and then I saw him on the front porch,” said one neighbor who did not want to be identified.
On Monday, a picture and candle were placed on the sidewalk outside the couple’s home. One neighbor remembered Roberts’ kindness after she recently moved to the neighborhood.
“Just very welcoming and, you know, ‘Come on over when you’re settled and we’ll come on over to your place.’ So, just very sweet and wonderful,” the neighbor said.
Neighbors told Nexstar’s WKRN that Roberts had a gift for stage lighting and traveled to work on sets across the country. They added that Roberts recently retired and had plans to take a trip to Italy with his grandson.
Michael Golden, the vice president of Bandit Lites, Inc., remembered Roberts’ professionalism.
“Thom was a talented lighting professional and just as importantly he was a humble, yet extremely genuine man. I got to know Thom in the early 90s when I had the opportunity to work with him as the supplier of lighting for Vince Gill, and I consider Thom one of the ‘old guard’ that transformed the wild west of touring into a respected and professional career. Thom worked for many artists and institutions around the city, but anytime I ever heard his name a smile would cross my face. This city and our music community will miss Thom, but we will all be better because of his reputation and the foundation he helped build.”
For Roberts’ neighbor, he’ll remain a friendly face she wishes she could have gotten to known better.
“It’s such a dichotomy based on how sweet and wonderful everything is and then this happens, it’s like shocking,” she said. “I don’t even really know where to put it in my mind, I really don’t.”
Randy Travis also considered Roberts a “friend” and released a statement on Facebook following his death.
The stage has gone dim with the passing of Thom Roberts.
For many years, the Randy Travis band and crew had the opportunity to share the winding roads and the beautiful venues with one of the very best stage lighting technicians in the business.
Thom not only had a magical sense about lighting a stage; but, he had a quiet, charismatic presence that ignited your soul.
Always willing, with a ‘can do’ and ‘happy to do it’ attitude.
He was a gentle giant of a man that wore a constant smile on his face and carried a song in his heart.
One would search a lifetime to find a kinder, gentler spirit. Thom was my friend and I loved him dearly.
As we go back out next week, for the “More Life” tour of Randy Travis, the music will not be near as sweet; but, I will once again be reminded of the blessing I was given to have Thom Roberts on the road with us for so many miles, and so many memories.
It certainly won’t be the same; and, I know I speak for the entire band and crew when I say the light that he truly created, in our hearts, will never be extinguished or forgotten.
Tonight, I will look toward heaven and am sure I will see flashes of Thom’s handiwork in the night sky — letting us know he is home, and all is well.Randy Travis
Christine Roberts is currently being held at a detention facility, according to records from the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office. She has been charged with criminal homicide.