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Riverside Sheriff's deputy Darnell Calhoun dies after being shot in Lake Elsinore; suspect arrested

Deputies identify suspect who fatally shot Riverside County sheriff's Deputy Darnell Calhoun
Deputies identify suspect who fatally shot Riverside County sheriff's Deputy Darnell Calhoun 02:17

Deputy Darnell Calhoun of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department was shot and killed in Lake Elsinore on Friday afternoon. 

According to the department, the shooting occurred at around 4:30 p.m. in the 18500 block of Hilldale Lane. Deputies were dispatched to the scene for a domestic violence call related to a child custody issue.

The deputy was rushed to Inland Valley Medical Center in serious condition. At around 6:45 p.m., it was reported that the deputy was undergoing surgery on wounds suffered during the shooting. 

He was reportedly shot in the leg and torso.

At 7:55 p.m., Riverside County Sheriff's Department announced that Calhoun, a 30-year-old deputy, had died. Calhoun joined RSO in February 2022, after spending two years with the San Diego Police Department. 

He leaves behind a pregnant wife, as well as two sons aged two and four. 

"There is not one person with one negative thing to say about him," said Sheriff Chad Bianco during a press conference. "He was the most cheerful, the most positive, the most wholesome good man you can imagine. Now a father, a mother, a wife and us, are trying to figure out why."

According to Sheriff Bianco, Calhoun was the first deputy to arrive at the scene. At some point between his arrival and that of a second deputy, a shooting occurred, and the second deputy arrived to find Calhoun suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in the street. Bianco said they were unsure of the circumstances that led to the suspect shooting Calhoun.

It was then that a shootout occurred between the suspect and the second deputy.

The suspect has been identified by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department as Jesse Navarro, 42-year-old resident of Lake Elsinore. Navarro, was also shot during the incident. As of Saturday, Jan. 14, Navarro remains hospitalized and in critical condition according to the sheriff's department.

A massive law enforcement presence could be seen outside of the home where the shooting occurred, including a Bearcat. Deputies said they were clearing the residence and that the ongoing incident had concluded at around 6:15 p.m.

This is the second fatal shooting involving an RSO deputy in less than three week's time, after Deputy Isaiah Cordero was fatally shot in Jurupa Valley on Dec. 29. 

Dozens of RSO deputies, California Highway Patrol officers and Calhoun's former partners at San Diego Police Department gathered at the hospital after the news of his death was announced. 

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department was supported by the San Diego Police Department and neighboring police departments as they honored fallen officer Calhoun with a procession Friday night from Inland Valley Medical Center to the Riverside County Coroner's Office in Perris.

Early Saturday morning, the Riverside Sheriff's Association issued a statement that read: 

"Deputy Darnell Calhoun answered the call to serve, defend and protect our community. Within a span of two weeks, Riverside County has lost another hero way too early in life. Deputy Calhoun was a leader in community policing, believed in people and his ability to speak to the community with respect; meet them where they are in life; try to understand their needs; and work together to find solutions to the issues they were facing. To Darnell, being a Police Officer in San Diego and Deputy in Riverside was about making the community a better and safer place for everyone.

Our heart aches for the family, friends, and fellow deputies of Darnell Calhoun, and we ask everyone to take a moment to remember his selfless service."

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the following statement Saturday morning: 

"Jennifer and I are heartbroken by the loss of Deputy Calhoun, a dedicated public servant who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and all those he served with at the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, who are mourning the painful loss of another deputy weeks ago. Deputy Calhoun died a hero and his bravery and selfless service will always be remembered." 

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