Hundreds of Solano County residents gathered on Wednesday night to pay tribute to a fallen California Highway Patrol officer who was shot in the line of duty on Tuesday.
The candlelight vigil, held at Ridgeview Park in Fairfield, turned even more somber when word that CHP Officer Kenyon Youngstrom, of Fairfield, died at about 6:05 p.m. at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.
As the event began, CHP officers, various law enforcement officers and Congressman John Garamendi watched as residents of varying ages stood in a large group waiting to light candles as a show of support for Youngstrom and his family.
Youngstrom, a seven-year CHP veteran, was making a routine traffic stop along Interstate 680 on Tuesday morning near Alamo, which is south of Walnut Creek and north of Danville. The driver of the Jeep Wrangler, Christopher Boone Lacy, 38, of Corning in Tehama County, opened fire with a semi-automatic gun. Youngstrom's partner subsequently fired at Lacy and shot him. Both were taken to the John Muir in Walnut Creek where Lacy died later that day.
“We come together unfortunately once again in this community because of a senseless act of violence,” Fairfield Mayor Harry T. Price said. “Officer Youngstrom was dong his duty as every uniformed officer does and in the course of doing his duty, he served as a role model for all of us. It's important for us to know and recognize that the loss of his life means that we must do more to redouble our efforts to nourish and care for his family. When you leave here this evening, don't be afraid to shed a tear.”
As sobs could be heard throughout the crowd, a CHP helicopter flew overhead in tribute and Garamendi praised Youngstrom, calling him a powerful spirit.
“Let us offer our prayers to this family and to the large community in which this family lived and participated,” Garamendi said. “Let us offer our prayers to our community and push violence aside and put in its place peace, love and understanding. It is our duty. It is our responsibility to do that. As you go in this community and you see the Youngstrom family, you put your arms around them and give them the support that they need. It's going to be very difficult but with all of us, they will be comforted and they will find peace in the years ahead. So stand by them not just today and tomorrow but in the years ahead.”
Cheryl Taylor, of Fairfield, said she attended the vigil to give support to the family.
“I think this great,” she said. “Everybody has come together on one accord.”
Fairfield resident Mynia Jabson echoed Taylor’s sentiments and said she felt really sad for the family.
Sue Young, Oakbrook Elementary School PTA vice president and one of the organizers of the vigil said it was very unifying to see everybody coming together to show their support.
“In times of crisis everybody wants a job to do and there's just not enough jobs to go around,” she said. “You can't get every one of us to knock on the door and bring a casserole but we can come together in this way and everybody feels like they have purpose. Like they did something. This was a great opportunity for families to come together.”