LAKE ELSINORE, California. (KABC) — The suspect in the fatal shooting of a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy near Lake Elsinore was identified Saturday as sad tributes continued to pour in for the slain police officer.
Deputy Darnell Calhoun, 30, who joined the department less than a year ago, was shot dead Friday while responding to a call about domestic violence and child custody in Lakeland Village, and later died at a hospital.
The suspect, 42-year-old Jesse Navarro, was shot dead by another responding deputy and hospitalized in critical condition, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Sheriff Chad Bianco announced Calhoun’s death Friday night during a news conference outside of Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar.
“I shouldn’t be here tonight and have to do that again,” Bianco said. “I am devastated to report the loss of another of our deputy sheriffs who was killed on duty today.”
Governor Gavin Newsom issued the following statement on Saturday morning:
“Jennifer and I are heartbroken by the loss of Deputy Calhoun, a dedicated officer who made the ultimate sacrifice on the job. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and all those with whom he served in the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department who mourn the grievous loss of another congressman weeks ago. Congressman Calhoun died a hero and his bravery and selfless service will always be remembered.”
The incident began just before 4:30 p.m. Friday when a dispatcher took a call and “heard voices in the background and it sounded like a confrontation was taking place,” Bianco said.
Deputies were dispatched to the 18500 block of Hilldale Lane in the unincorporated community of Lakeland Village, which borders the town of Lake Elsinore. Calhoun was the first deputy at the scene, but “we’re not sure about first contact,” the sheriff said.
The second congressman who arrived at the scene found Calhoun wounded on the street, according to Bianco. “A shootout ensued with the suspect who was shot dead. The suspect was treated at the scene and taken to hospital.”
“He is a husband, a son. He would have made a father,” Bianco said of Calhoun, adding that the slain congressman’s wife was pregnant.
He said no one ever said anything negative about Calhoun, who joined the sheriff’s department in February 2022 after spending two years with the San Diego Police Department.
“He was always so positive,” Bianco said, adding that Calhoun has an “amazing family.”
“I remember when he was sworn in,” Bianco said briefly, overcome with emotion. “I hugged his mother and told her I would take care of him.”
A procession of police officers escorted Calhoun’s body from Inland Valley Medical Center to the Coroner’s Office in Perris late Friday.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta also expressed his condolences on Saturday.
“Deputy Darnell Calhoun represented the best of the California spirit – protecting and serving the public with bravery,” Bonta said Saturday. “On behalf of the nearly 6,000 men and women at the California Department of Justice, I offer our deepest condolences to Deputy Calhoun*’s family, colleagues and the entire Riverside community. His ministry and sacrifice will not be forgotten.”
Funerals are coming up.
In late December, another Riverside County Assemblyman, Isaiah Cordero, was shot and killed in a collision with a previously convicted felon. The shooter in that incident was shot dead by deputies after a chase.