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2 Candlelight Vigils Planned For Slain RivCo Deputy Darnell Calhoun

Patch 1/17/2023 Toni McAllister
Deputy Darnell Calhoun © Riverside County Sheriff's Dept. Deputy Darnell Calhoun

LAKE ELSINORE, CA — A candlelight vigil was planned Tuesday evening in Lake Elsinore for a Riverside County sheriff's deputy who was shot and killed Friday in the line of duty — and another remembrance is scheduled Wednesday in Murrieta.

The Lake Elsinore vigil for Deputy Darnell Calhoun is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Lake Elsinore Sheriff's Station, 333 W. Limited Avenue.

The city of Lake Elsinore announced the vigil on social media and said the gathering will be a chance for the community to come together "to honor the life and service" of Calhoun.

The city of Murrieta also announced a vigil slated for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Town Square Park Amphitheater, 11 Town Square Park.

Calhoun's family owns Calhoun's Texas Family Barbeque at 24710 Washington Ave., Suite 11, in Murrieta.

"The candlelight vigil is a way to show our community’s gratitude for Deputy Calhoun’s service and support for his loved ones, including his parents, who are the owners of Murrieta restaurant Calhoun's Texas Family Barbeque," according to a post on the city of Murrieta's Facebook page.

Limited candles will be provided at the Murrieta event, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own. Battery-powered flameless candles are a safe option, according to the city.

On Monday, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department released the following message on behalf of the Calhoun family:

“Since the tragic loss of Darnell, our family has received an outpouring of love and support from our community for which we are immensely grateful. While we are heartbroken, we also celebrate the gift of Darnell — the husband, father, son, brother, and deputy. His life, though cut short, is a blessing. Our faith in Jesus will carry us through this and we know we will be reunited with Darnell once again. His life, his commitment and dedication to his family and his community will remain an inspiration. He was genuine, kind, loyal, and had the heart of a servant. We take great comfort in knowing that Darnell led a life well lived. We are grateful to our community, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, and law enforcement agencies around the country that have uplifted us.

"While we respect and are thankful and grateful for the community, we ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time. Thank you for your continued love and prayers," the announcement read.

The suspect in Calhoun's fatal shooting was identified as Jesse Navarro, a 42-year-old Lake Elsinore resident.

Navarro was shot by one or more deputies and remained hospitalized in critical condition Saturday, according to the sheriff's department.

Calhoun, 30, who had joined the department less than a year ago, was shot Friday while responding to a call near Lake Elsinore regarding "unknown trouble," authorities said. He died later at a nearby hospital.

Sheriff Chad Bianco announced his death Friday during a 9 p.m. news conference outside Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar.

"I shouldn't be here tonight having to do this again," Bianco said. "I'm devastated to tell of the loss of another of our deputy sheriffs who was killed in the line of duty today."

The Riverside Sheriff's Association called Calhoun's death the loss of "another hero way too early in life."

"Deputy Darnell Calhoun answered the call to serve, defend and protect our community. ... Deputy Calhoun was a leader in community policing, believed in people and his ability to speak to the community with respect; meet them where they are in life; try to understand their needs; and work together to find solutions to the issues they were facing. To Darnell, being a Police Officer in San Diego and Deputy in Riverside was about making the community a better and safer place for everyone.

"Our heart aches for the family, friends, and fellow deputies of Darnell Calhoun, and we ask everyone to take a moment to remember his selfless service."

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the following statement Saturday morning:

"Jennifer and I are heartbroken by the loss of Deputy Calhoun, a dedicated public servant who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and all those he served with at the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, who are mourning the painful loss of another deputy weeks ago. Deputy Calhoun died a hero and his bravery and selfless service will always be remembered."

California Attorney General Rob Bonta also offered his condolences.

"Deputy Darnell Calhoun represented the best of the California spirit — protecting and serving the public with valor," Bonta said Saturday. "On behalf of the nearly 6,000 men and women of the California Department of Justice, I extend our deepest condolences to Deputy Calhoun's family, colleagues, and the entire Riverside community. His service and sacrifice will not be forgotten."

Law enforcement agencies from throughout Southern California also offered their condolences.

"Our Partners @RSO have suffered another unimaginable loss," Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna tweeted. "Dep Darnell Calhoun gave his life in the service of others. Sheriff Bianco, on Behalf of the @LASDHQ, I offer my sincerest condolences. My Family, agency, and @CountyofLA will hold you and @RSO in our hearts & prayers."

"To our brothers and sisters of (the) Riverside County Sheriff's Dept., no words can express our deepest sorrow for the loss of Deputy Darnell Calhoun," the Orange County Sheriff's Department tweeted. "Our thoughts and prayers are for you, his family, and his friends. We will honor him, mourn him, and stand beside you in every way."

"We mourn the loss of Deputy Darnell Calhoun who gave his life in the line of duty," the California Highway Patrol tweeted. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones, and the entire law enforcement community. We are forever grateful for the sacrifices made by our officers to keep our communities safe."

The incident began around 4:20 p.m. Friday, when a dispatcher took a call and "in the background she heard voices and it sounded like a confrontation was occurring," Bianco said.

Deputies were dispatched to the 18500 block of Hilldale Lane, just east of Grand Avenue, in the unincorporated community of Lakeland Village bordering Lake Elsinore.

"As Deputy Calhoun approached the residence, the suspect began shooting at him, and a deputy-involved shooting occurred. As an additional deputy arrived, the suspect engaged him with gunfire as well. The suspect was ultimately wounded and taken into custody," the sheriff's department said in a news released Saturday.

Authorities said the second deputy involved in the shooting will be placed on paid administrative leave in accordance with department policy. The name of the second involved deputy will not be released at this time, officials said.

Nearby Lakeland Village Middle School, where students participating in an after-school program were still on campus, went on lockdown during the incident, witnesses said.

"The second deputy on the scene found Deputy Calhoun wounded in the street," Bianco said. "A gunfight ensued with the suspect who was shot. The suspect was treated at the scene and transported to the hospital. He is currently in critical condition."

Reports from the scene indicated the suspect may have also been taken Inland Valley Medical Center, but there was no immediate confirmation.

Bianco described Calhoun as a "husband, a son and would have been a dad," adding that the slain deputy's wife is pregnant.

He said there wasn't one person who had a negative thing to say about Calhoun, who joined the Riverside County Sheriff's Department in February 2022 after spending two years with the San Diego Police Department.

"He was always so positive," Bianco said.

The sheriff said Calhoun also has a "fantastic family."

"I remember when he was sworn in," Bianco said. "I hugged his mother and told her I would take care of him. We are sadly in a time when some people have no respect for other people and no respect for law enforcement. Those people are willing to engage in gunfights with law enforcement over minor things."

Late Friday, a procession of law enforcement officers escorted Calhoun's body from Inland Valley Medical Center to the coroner's office in Perris.

Funeral services were pending. An online fundraiser for Calhoun's family neared $185,000 Tuesday morning.

The fatal shooting came 15 days after Deputy Isaiah Albert Cordero was fatally shot during a traffic stop in Jurupa Valley Dec. 29, which had been the first line-of-duty death of a Riverside County sheriff's deputy in 15 years.

Sheriff's officials said an investigator from the Riverside County District Attorney's Office will lead the investigation, aided by the sheriff's Force Investigations Detail. Anyone with information about the incident was urged to contact DA Investigator Mario Moreno at 951-334-0407,, or Riverside County Sheriff's Investigator Jarred Bishop at 951-955-1700.

—City News Service contributed to this report.

The article 2 Candlelight Vigils Planned For Slain RivCo Deputy Darnell Calhoun appeared first on Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch.

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