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Drone video captures part of encounter in which Riverside County deputy was fatally shot

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Drone video of a deadly standoff that took the life of a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy on Friday appears to capture the suspect being shot by another deputy before the wounded officer is rushed into the back of a sheriff’s SUV.

The video was posted to YouTube late Friday by an account created the same day. Its owner could not immediately be reached for comment by The Times on Saturday.

The video provided the clearest picture yet of the encounter, which took the life of Deputy Darnell Calhoun, 30. The Sheriff’s Department said Calhoun was fatally shot after responding to an “unknown trouble” call about 4:20 p.m. in the 18500 block of Hilldale Lane, a residential area in Lakeland Village.

Calhoun was married, with 2- and 4-year-old sons, and his widow is pregnant. The former San Diego police officer had switched agencies last year to be closer to his family, which runs the popular Calhoun Family Texas Barbeque restaurant in Murrieta, officials said.

Bill Young, president of the Riverside Sheriffs’ Assn., said he was with the family Saturday and that they were experiencing unbearable grief and “reeling,” along with the rest of the deputy’s family, friends and law enforcement colleagues.

“His family and serving the community were his world,” Young said. “Sadly, now his unborn child must grow up without a devoted and loving father.”

The Sheriff’s Department said Calhoun was found with gunshot wounds by the second deputy to arrive on the scene, who then shot the suspect. The video does not show Calhoun being shot, but does show the suspect being hit.

The department announced Calhoun’s death Friday night. He was the second Riverside County deputy to be fatally shot on duty in two weeks. Deputy Isaiah Cordero, 32, was fatally shot Dec. 29 during a traffic stop in Jurupa Valley.

The department said it was aware of the YouTube video but could not comment on its content “due to the ongoing investigation.” The Riverside County district attorney’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Calhoun’s family could not be reached.

Young said it was “sad that someone felt the need to post” the video online, as “a family and department are trying to grieve the loss of a hero and dedicated public servant.” But he also said the video showed “the dedication of the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department in the face of danger.”

The video, which is more than four minutes long, does not have sound. It was posted with a description calling it “pretty intense.”

The video begins as the suspect, dressed in black, runs toward a deputy’s SUV parked between the suspect and a single-family home where several people are standing in the driveway. An unattended white truck sits in the middle of the street.

The deputy rounds the rear of the SUV, stands for a moment and runs around the vehicle as the suspect runs toward him. The deputy then rounds the front of the SUV just as the suspect is moving away from the rear.

The deputy then appears to shoot the suspect, who falls as two of the bystanders in the driveway run to the deputy, one grabbing him. The relationship between the bystanders and the suspect is unclear.

The deputy pushes one of the bystanders back. Two bystanders run to the suspect and lie on him as two other deputies pull up to the scene.

The deputy who fired then appears to give an order for the bystanders to get off the suspect and move away, which they do. The two other deputies approach the suspect and drag him onto his front as what looks like his blood smears the sidewalk. One begins searching the suspect.

At the same time, the deputy who fired runs into the yard of a neighboring house, where there is a cluster of bushes and trees. As more deputies arrive on the street, the two who had initially pulled the suspect onto his front also run to the bushes at the side of the neighboring house.

It appears from the video that the deputies are trying to provide aid to Calhoun, who is on the ground in the bushes. Another sheriff’s SUV pulls up, closer to the bushes, and several law enforcement officers and perhaps another bystander can be seen carrying Calhoun out of the bushes and loading him into the backseat of the SUV. The video then ends.

On Saturday, mourners had begun creating a makeshift memorial outside the Lake Elsinore sheriff’s station where Calhoun was stationed. There were no new details about the suspect’s condition.

“I feel awful about it,” said Corina Marquez, who said she used to see Calhoun in the mornings when he’d be getting workouts in before work at the local LA Fitness gym.

Ron Johnson, a retired deputy sheriff who used to work out of the same station, said the shooting was a tragic reminder of the sacrifices law enforcement officers make answering dangerous calls for service.

In March of last year, Calhoun was featured in a KPBS story about his transfer from San Diego to the Sheriff’s Department, which he attributed in part to low morale and an increasing workload in a dangerous job.

“That’s rough,” he said in the news story. “That’s not something I’d wish on anyone.”

Calhoun also said he was happy to be working closer to home, without the long commute to San Diego.

Times photographers Raul Roa and Irfan Khan contributed to this report.

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