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Flags are flying at half-staff across the state today in honor of a California Highway Patrol officer who died Wednesday after he was shot Tuesday morning during a traffic stop on Interstate Highway 680. Officer Kenyon Youngstrom, 37, of Fairfield, was pronounced dead at 6:05 p.m. at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, according to the CHP. Youngstrom was shot in the head around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday while talking with the driver of a green Jeep Wrangler his partner had pulled over on southbound I-680 north of Livorna Road in the Alamo area. The Jeep’s driver, identified as Christopher Boone Lacy, 36, of Corning, Calif., shot Youngstrom without warning after a brief conversation on the side of the highway, Contra Costa County sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee said.
A second officer shot Lacy after Youngstrom was struck. Both Youngstrom and Lacy were taken to John Muir Medical Center, where Lacy died that day. Youngstrom’s family and colleagues rushed to be with the wounded officer at the hospital. The seven-year CHP veteran was assigned to the agency’s Contra Costa office in Martinez in February 2006 after graduating from the CHP Academy in August 2005. He was then transferred to the Golden Gate Division headquarters in January 2009 before returning to a post in Contra Costa County on Aug. 1 of this year. Youngstrom had served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1994 to 2000 and had reached the rank of specialist.
He is survived by his wife Karen, two sons and two daughters, and his parents, Gaylord and Jill Youngstrom, of Riverside, Calif. He also had four brothers and a sister. Youngstrom had prearranged to have his organs donated, and his wishes are being carried out, CHP officials said. A statement released by the CHP describes Youngstrom as a “man of God” and states that he “radiated joy and genuine care for all around him.” His family has asked for privacy as they grieve together, and “learn how to face tomorrow without Kenyon,” CHP officials said.
A memorial fund has been set up through Wells Fargo, and donations to the Officer Kenyon Youngstrom Memorial can be made at any Wells Fargo branch, CHP Officer Elon Steers said. The Mechanics Bank has also opened an account for Youngstrom’s
family. Donations can be made in person at any branch throughout the Bay Area and Sacramento region. Donations can also be mailed, with checks made payable to “For Benefit of Officer Kenyon Youngstrom” and sent to Mechanics Bank, 1350 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, CA, 94596. For wire transfers, the bank’s routing number is 121102036.
CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow released a statement shortly after learning about Youngstrom’s death, saying that Youngstrom would be honored by having his name engraved on the CHP Memorial Fountain in Sacramento. “This is a very sad day for the CHP as well as all Californians,” Farrow said. “Officer Youngstrom was a valued member of the CHP family.” Youngstrom is the 223rd CHP officer to be killed in the line of duty since 1929. Gov. Jerry Brown expressed his condolences on behalf of Californians. “Officer Youngstrom died protecting the community he served, and we are grateful to him for that,” the governor said. Capitol flags will be flow at half-staff, the governor’s office announced. Plans are being made for a public memorial in the near future, CHP Officer John Fransen said. The shooter, Lacy, who graduated from San Francisco State University’s computer science master’s program in 2005, was a computer engineer.
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