The drone captures the scene where the Riverside County congressman was killed

The drone captures the scene where the Riverside County congressman was killed

  • US News
  • January 15, 2023
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Drone video of a deadly standoff that claimed the life of a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy on Friday appears to capture the suspect, who is shot by another deputy in the street before the wounded officer is wheeled into the back of a sheriff’s SUV.

The video was posted to YouTube late Friday from a brand new account created on the same day. Its owner could not be immediately reached for comment by The Times on Saturday.

The video provided the clearest picture yet of the encounter that killed Deputy Darnell Calhoun, 30. The sheriff’s department said Calhoun was fatally shot after responding to an “unknown trouble” call about 4:20 p.m. in the 18500 block of Hilldale Lane, a residential area in Lakeland Village.

Calhoun’s widow is pregnant, and the former San Diego police officer switched agencies last year to be closer to his family, who runs the popular Calhoun Family Texas Barbeque restaurant in Murrieta, officials said.

Riverside Sheriffs’ Assn. President Bill Young said he was with the family on Saturday and they were in “excruciating” grief and “staggering” along with the rest of the family, friends and law enforcement colleagues.

“His family and community service were his world,” Young said. “Unfortunately, his unborn child must now grow up without a devoted and loving father.”

The sheriff’s department said Calhoun was found with gunshot wounds by the second deputy who arrived at the scene and then shot the suspect. The video does not show Calhoun being shot, but shows the suspect being hit.

The sheriff’s office announced Calhoun’s death Friday night. He became the second Riverside County assemblyman to be fatally shot on duty in the past two weeks after the death of Deputy Isaiah Cordero, 32. Cordero was fatally shot during a traffic stop in Jurupa Valley on December 29.

Neither the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department nor the Riverside County Attorney’s Office immediately responded to a request for comment about the YouTube video. Calhoun’s family could not be reached for comment.

Young said it was “sad that someone felt the need to put the video online” as “a family and ministry are trying to mourn the loss of a hero and dedicated official.” But he also said the video shows “the commitment of the men and women of the sheriff’s department in the face of danger.”

The video, which is more than four minutes long, has no sound. It was released late Friday, along with a description calling it “quite intense.”

The video begins with the suspect, dressed in black, running toward a deputy’s SUV, which is parked between the suspect and a family home with several other people standing in the driveway. An unattended white truck is also parked in the middle of the road.

The deputy circles the rear of the SUV, pauses for a moment, then runs around the vehicle as the suspect runs toward him. The deputy then circles the front of the SUV just as the suspect moves away from the rear of the SUV.

The deputy then appears to shoot the suspect, who falls to the ground as two bystanders run towards the deputy in the driveway – one of them grabs him. The relationship between the passers-by and the suspect is unclear.

The deputy then pushes one of the bystanders back. Two bystanders then ran to the suspect and lay on him while two other officers drove to the scene.

The deputy who fired then appears to order bystanders to get off the suspect and move away from him, which they do. The other two deputies then approach the suspect and pull him onto his front during what appears to be his blood smearing the sidewalk. One of the police officers then begins to search for the suspect.

At the same time, the deputy who was shooting runs into the yard of a neighboring house, where there is a group of bushes and trees. When more police officers arrive on the street, the two who initially dragged the suspect to the front also run to the bushes next to the house next door.

The video shows the deputies trying to help Calhoun, who is lying on the ground in the bushes. Another sheriff’s SUV then pulls up closer to the bushes and several police officers and perhaps another bystander can be seen carrying Calhoun out of the bushes and then loading him into the backseat of the SUV. The video then ends.

As of Saturday, mourners had begun erecting a makeshift memorial outside of the Lake Elsinore sheriff’s station where Calhoun was stationed.

“I feel awful about it,” said Corina Marquez, who said she saw Calhoun in the mornings as he worked out at the local LA Fitness gym before work.

Ron Johnson, a retired deputy sheriff who used to work from the same station, said the shooting was a tragic reminder of the sacrifices law enforcement officers make when answering dangerous calls to duty.

In March last year, Calhoun was featured in a KPBS story about his transfer from the San Diego Police to the Sheriff’s Department, which he attributed in part to low morale and an increasing workload in a dangerous job.

“It’s tough,” he said in the news report. “I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”

Calhoun also said he’s happy to work closer to home without the long drive to San Diego.

Times photographers Raul Roa and Irfan Khan contributed to this report.

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