The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said goodbye to one of their own on Saturday.
Deputy Darnell Calhoun, 30, was fatally shot on Jan. 13 while responding to a domestic violence call in Lake Elsinore. Authorities say the suspect, 42-year-old Jesse Navarro, got into a gun battle with another deputy on scene and was taken to the hospital in critical condition but is expected to recover.
On Saturday, the department remembered Calhoun with a 50-mile procession from the funeral home in Murrieta to Abundant Living Family Church in Rancho Cucamonga, where the memorial service was held. Joining the RCSD was the San Diego Police Department, where Calhoun began his law enforcement career.
While the mood was solemn and mournful, the Rev. Kenny Keahey of New Birth Church in Murrieta clarified during his remarks that he viewed the ceremony as a “homegoing service to commemorate and celebrate the life, the love and the legacy of Darnell Calhoun.”
“As long as I’ve known Darnell, he was always on duty,” Keahey said. “A job is what is done for hire and mostly for monetary wages, but a duty contains a sense of moral and legal and spiritual obligation … Darnell had a duty to fulfill, and he lived his life in fulfillment of that duty.”
Calhoun’s funeral marked the second time the RCSD has had to bury a deputy in recent weeks. Deputy Isaiah Cordero was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Jurupa Valley last month.
Bianco expressed his frustration and grief at losing another deputy when he spoke at the memorial service.
“Our law enforcement family did not have the time to process or come to grips with the loss of Isaiah when we were forced to deal with the unthinkable realization that we’d lost Darnell,” Bianco said.
The ceremony also included a video message from basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, who has frequently been named an honorary deputy or reserve police officer in the cities in which he played.
In his message, O’Neal offered his condolences to Calhoun’s wife.
“I did not know your husband, Deputy Calhoun, but any man who works as law enforcement, you can tell they love the community,” O’Neal said. “And I know he loves you and he loves both of those beautiful babies. Again, my heart is so heavy…I wish I didn’t have to leave this message under these circumstances, but my heart goes out to you and your two babies, and may God bless you. Rest in peace, Deputy Calhoun.”
The Riverside Sheriff’s Association has created an online fundraiser to assist Calhoun’s family.