RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A segment of Interstate 15 in Lake Elsinore will bear the name of a fallen Riverside County sheriff’s deputy, following passage of a Senate resolution intended to honor him.
Sen. Kelly Seyarto, R-Murrieta, brought forward Senate Resolution 25 in the just-ended legislative session to memorialize 30-year-old Deputy Darnell Calhoun, who was gunned down during an ambush in January in Lakeland Village.
The resolution unanimously passed the Senate in August and was formally chaptered by the California Office of the Secretary of State earlier this month.
“I was fortunate enough to know Deputy Calhoun personally through his work in our community,” Seyarto said. “He was the epitome of a public servant, and I am honored and humbled to be able to recognize him in this way, so we never forget the sacrifice he made to keep our district safe.”
A segment of I-15 between Central Avenue and North Main Street will bear signs officially designating that section of the freeway the “Deputy Darnell Andrew Calhoun Memorial Highway.”
Calhoun, who is survived by his widow, Vanessa, and young sons Russell, Troy and Malcolm, was fatally shot on Jan. 13, allegedly by 43-year- old Jesse Ceazar Navarro of Lake Elsinore.
The District Attorney’s Office announced in July that prosecutors will pursue a death sentence if Navarro is convicted.
According to a sheriff’s arrest warrant affidavit filed with the criminal complaint, Calhoun went to a residence in the 18500 block of Hilldale Lane, near Grand Avenue, about 4:30 p.m. after 911 dispatchers received a call giving indications of what sounded like a domestic altercation at the location, without certainty because the caller abruptly hung up.
Calhoun arrived alone in his patrol vehicle and “contacted several individuals in the driveway of the residence,” according to the affidavit.
“Navarro partially concealed himself behind an open door of his (pickup) truck, holding a handgun out of sight of Deputy Calhoun,” the document said. “Within 17 seconds of Deputy Calhoun arriving on scene, Navarro began shooting at him. Navarro fired multiple rounds at Deputy Calhoun, as Deputy Calhoun fled on foot. Navarro then entered his truck, drove in the direction that Calhoun had fled and continued to fire at him from the truck.”
The affidavit indicated Calhoun fired back at the defendant, but “none of the rounds appeared to injure him.”
Calhoun was hit several times and collapsed in the street. He was taken to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
A backup deputy engaged Navarro in a gunfight on the street within a couple minutes of the “deputy under fire” call, wounding the defendant. The responding deputy wasn’t injured.
Navarro has since recovered from his wounds. No trial date has been set in his case.
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