Members of the Corvallis music community still are reeling from the news that former Corvallis musician died in a car crash on Sunday in northern California after being chased by law enforcement.
But it's the details behind the crash that really have stunned friends of 32-year-old Tomas "Mas" Pitagoras Gouverneur: He was being pursued as a possible suspect after someone slashed the throats of two people and injured two others in California's rural Trinity County.
Govourneur was known in the Corvallis music community as a bassist and cellist who played frequently with his fiance, Jenna Summer Smith. Govourneur was also Smith’s manager and booking agent.
“This cannot be true,” said Curtis Monette, a friend and leader of the local band audiophilia. “Mas was one of the most gentle people I have ever met.”
“He was just a totally sweet guy, a teddy bear of a man,” said Casey Hurt, who worked at Gracewinds with Smith. “It’s kind of hard to hear all of that...it’s very shocking and very sudden.”
Sunday, the Trinity County Sheriff's office responded to two separate incidents of stabbings in Zenia, Calif., one at Kettenpom Store involving two victims who survived and another at a nearby residence where the two victims were found deceased.
The survivors were identifed late Wednesday as Nora Gund of Kettenpom and her husband, Jim. According to information from the Record Searchlight newspaper in Redding, Calif., Nora Gund was listed in good condition Wednesday at University of California Davis Medical center in Sacramento.
Trinity County Sheriff’s deputies identified a possible suspect, Gouverneur, driving a teal sedan with Oregon license plates driving south on backroads.
Gouverneur then crossed into Mendocino County heading west on Highway 162, where the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office pursued Gouverneur at speeds between 60 and 90 miles per hour. Govourneur reportedly lost control of his vehicle while traveling south on Highway 101 and struck a tree and died.
News of Gouverneur’s death and possible involvement in a double homocide came as a shock to those who knew him locally.
Gouverneur’s Facebook page was flooded with comments of friends expressing sadness for the loss and sharing fond memories of hugs, deep conversations and a genuine personality.
And for most people who knew Govourneur, Sunday’s events are a mystery. They are left piecing together the details and trying to understand how the man who was known for his warm hugs could have possibly been involved in such violent crimes.
“My guess is he just had a combination of a couple things: some really bad luck and bad timing of being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Gracewinds Music owner Travis Oefelein. “However the truth unfolds it’ll show he’s a gentle person.”
Emily Gillespie can be reached at 541-758-9548 or firstname.lastname@example.org.