Former San Diego Police officer Deputy Darnell Cahloun mourned
We first met Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Darnell Calhoun last March at his new station in Lake Elsinore. It was a far cry from the 90-minute drive to San Diego, where he had served as a police officer for two years.
The story was about officers like Calhoun who left San Diego and other big cities to work for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Calhoun was glad he could spend more time with his two little boys. We asked if more money would have persuaded him to stay in San Diego. He said: “Yeah money would have been great but … it would have been something really significant because I really appreciate the fact that I’m home. I’m patrolling home and I like being closer to family and home, my new co-workers are really great… I miss some of the people I work with in San Diego but I’m glad I’m here.”
Calhoun was shot dead Friday while answering a domestic violence call in Lake Elsinore. Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco noted that Calhoun’s entire shift from San Diego rushed to the Inland Valley Regional Medical Center after the shooting.
Among them was San Diego police officer Chad Crenshaw, who had been Calhoun’s partner.
“I liked him straight away,” Crenshaw told KPBS. “He was just happy, outgoing… he always had a smile on his face. He and I used to tell cheesy dad jokes.”
Crenshaw said when Calhoun went to Riverside County, he was happy for him. “We stayed in touch. He called me two days ago and planned to meet up soon,” he recalled.
Crenshaw said his former partner acted quickly when he thought lives were in danger. He shared this story from their time together: “A gentleman had a heart attack while picking up his daughter from high school. We sped there and got there before the medics did. And Darnell immediately jumped up and started CPR and when the medics showed up they said if Darnell hadn’t been doing chest compressions so quickly this guy wouldn’t have survived so Darnell… he’s a hero.
As we put this story together, we found a quote that we hadn’t used in last year’s story. In it, Calhoun shared why he wanted to be a police officer. “I really enjoy helping people and helping people,” he said. “I know that sounds super cliche, but that’s my heart. I like doing it, so I like to go out and help people in different ways. I want to take care of those who can’t help themselves and protect them from people who, for lack of a better word, suck.”
Darnell Calhoun is the second Riverside County assemblyman to be killed on duty in just over two weeks. He leaves behind his two sons and his pregnant wife.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Association has set up a fund to help his family: Help a Hero Campaign.
Calhoun’s family runs a BBQ restaurant in Murrieta. Flowers and other offerings were piled up outside the restaurant over the weekend.
A vigil in his memory will be held Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. at the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Substation, with another vigil at the amphitheater in Murrieta’s Town Square Park on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m