At least 150 people crowded the front of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Lake Elsinore Station Tuesday evening for a vigil for slain Deputy Darnell Calhoun.
Sheriff’s Chaplin Jim Savage opened the vigil by saying “Darnell Calhoun was a good man,” The Press-Enterprise reported.
Savage then led a prayer, which was followed by inspirational music, as spectators clad in jackets listened on the chilly night, according to The Press-Enterprise.
The vigil included a song, “Hymn of Heaven,” with acoustic guitar accompaniment.
“In the back of our minds we know that we might not go home,” Sheriff Chad Bianco said. ” It takes a special kind of person to be able to come to work everyday knowing that you could sacrifice your life for someone else and leave your family behind. Darnell was that kind of man who came to work to protect people.”
Riverside County Supervisor Karen Spiegel said she would never say the name of suspect Jesse Navarro “because any murderer who takes the life of law enforcement — or an attempt on that life — should never be given the dignity of having his name said out loud.”
“We all need to continue to rally together, rally around his (Calhoun’s) family as a community and wrap our arms around this very special, grieving family,” Spiegel said.
Lake Elsinore Mayor Natasha Johnson said Calhoun’s “sacrifice reminds us of the ultimate price our law enforcement officers are willing to pay to keep our families, and our communities safe.”
“His service and dedication will never be forgotten,” Johnson said. “And we will always remember the sacrifices he and his family have made.”
David Warnick told The Press-Enterprise he knew Calhoun since he was 5 years old and called him “well behaved” and “mature” as a child.
“It breaks your heart,” Warnick told The Press-Enterprise. “It definitely hits.”
Calhoun was assigned to the Lake Elsinore Station after he laterally transferred from the San Diego Police Department nearly one year ago.
Calhoun was fatally shot about 4:20 p.m. Friday in the 18000 block of Hilldale Lane, near Grand Avenue, when he approached a residence from which a 911 call had been placed indicating there was a domestic disturbance, Bianco said Friday.
A “Help A Hero” fundraiser for Calhoun’s family has been established. As of Tuesday evening, $201,320 in donations have been made. Donations can be made at helpahero.com/campaign/deputy-darnell-calhoun.
Another candlelight vigil in memory of Calhoun will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Town Square Park Amphitheater in Murrieta where Calhoun was raised.
Funeral plans have not been announced.