Second vigil for slain Deputy Darnell Calhoun is held in Murrieta

Second vigil for slain Deputy Darnell Calhoun is held in Murrieta

The second vigil in two days for a slain Riverside County Sheriff’s deputy is underway Wednesday evening, Jan. 18 — this time in his hometown of Murrieta.

On Tuesday night, Jan. 17, hundreds gathered outside the sheriff’s station in Lake Elsinore to honor Darnell Calhoun. On Wednesday, the salute shifted to Town Square Park Amphitheater in the city where Calhoun grew up and his parents still run a restaurant.

Calhoun, 30, was shot and killed near Lake Elsinore on Friday, Jan. 13. He was responding to a domestic violence call when the suspected gunman, Jesse Navarro, 42, opened fire. Calhoun was the department’s second officer to die in the line of duty in 16 days. It had gone nearly two decades without the on-duty killing of a deputy.

RELATED: Vigil salutes Darnell Calhoun, slain Riverside County sheriff’s deputy

The day after his death, Calhoun’s Texas Family Barbeque was met with a stream of support from the community. Residents laid bouquets of flowers, signs and notes of support for the family near the door of the restaurant, which remains closed.

At Wednesday’s vigil, Mireya Sanchez, 42, clutched a single white rose as her two children, 2 and 4, stood at her feet.

She had no connection to the Calhoun family, but she said she felt emotional.

“It’s a very sad situation,” Sanchez said before the ceremony. “I feel very sad.”

It was important for her young children to understand the meaning of the event, she said.

“I want them to know this officer risked his life protecting others and that they shouldn’t be afraid of cops,” Sanchez said.

Ray Santos, a 66-year-old Murrieta resident, knew Calhoun through his parents, who attend the same church, Faith Bible Church.

“We were shocked, of course,” Santos said of hearing about Calhoun’s death.

“It’s been hard for the church,” he said. “We’re praying.”

“We know he’s in good hands and he’s with the Lord,” Santos said.

A Go Fund Me account was created to support the family restaurant. A second fundraiser was created for the family by the Riverside County Deputy Sheriff’s Relief Foundation, a non-profit charity that helps law enforcement families through emergencies such as injury, sickness and death.

“He will be remembered as a son, a brother, a grandson, a nephew, a cousin, a son-in-law, a brother-in-law, and a loyal friend,” the foundation’s fundraiser states.

Also, several McDonald’s franchises in southwest Riverside County will donate a portion of sales Friday, Jan. 20, to the Calhoun family.

Before joining the Riverside County department in 2022, Calhoun worked for the San Diego Police Department.

The shooting came a week after the funeral of Deputy Isaiah Cordero, 32, who was shot to death during a traffic stop in Jurupa Valley. The gunman, William Shae McKay, was killed at the end of a car chase in Norco.