Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed near Lake Elsinore

A Riverside County sheriff’s deputy was shot to death near Lake Elsinore on Friday afternoon, Jan. 13, becoming the second to die in the line of duty in the past 16 days after the department went more than two decades without an on-duty slaying.

Deputy Darnell Calhoun was shot at about 4:30 p.m. in the 18500 block of Hilldale Lane, a development with single-family homes in the unincorporated community of Lakeland Village near the city’s namesake lake.

Calhoun was taken to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, where he died.

The suspect was in custody, the department said. Sheriff Chad Bianco told the Southern California News Group that the suspect was still alive.

We are devastated to announce the passing of Deputy Darnell Calhoun who was killed in the line of duty this afternoon.

Updates will follow as soon as more information becomes available.

— Riverside County Sheriff (@RSO) January 14, 2023

Deputies and law enforcement officers swarmed the area after the shooting. No details were immediately available on how Calhoun was shot or what he was investigating. Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department treated the suspect at the scene.

As night fell, hundreds of cars were being diverted from the area of Grand Avenue and Gregory Place.

The shooting happened one week after a memorial service for Deputy Isaiah Cordero, who was killed during a traffic stop in Jurupa Valley on Dec. 29. Cordero was the department’s first deputy to die in the line of duty from an assault since 2003.

Other deputies have died in the line of duty by other causes since then, including two by COVID-19.

The person believed responsible for killing Cordero, William Shae McKay, died in a gun battle with law enforcement in Norco. McKay was out on bail awaiting sentencing after a false imprisonment case. The three-strike felon had a warrant out for his arrest after failing to appear at a sentencing hearing.

Calhoun was a transfer from the San Diego Police Department, according to a March 2022 report on officers leaving that agency by KPBS, the public broadcasting station in San Diego.

Calhoun told the station that his workload had increased as a result of officers leaving because of the Police Department’s requirement that they be vaccinated against COVID-19. Calhoun said he had received the shots but left for the Sheriff’s Department because of the extra workload and to be closer to home.

He was assigned to the Lake Elsinore station.

“Morale feels really good here,” Calhoun told KPBS. “Morale in San Diego, yeah, it was touch and go.”

Bianco told KPBS that he welcomed officers such as Calhoun.

“We are just overwhelmed at the level of expertise and training that we’re getting,” Bianco said. “We have SWAT team members, we have K-9s that are coming over, we have aviation people that are coming over.”

Cesar Leyva, 43, was driving home from work Friday when he was detoured by police officers and flashing red and blue lights just outside Lakeland Village Middle School on Grand Avenue.

Leyva, who lives several houses away from where the shots were fired, said he was shocked to hear of another Riverside County deputy being gunned down.

“I don’t even know what to say,” Leyva said.

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