MARTINEZ (CBS SF) – The man who shot a California Highway Patrol officer on Interstate 680 in Alamo Tuesday shot the officer without warning in the head after a traffic stop, according to authorities.
Authorities on Wednesday morning identified the man who shot and critically wounded Officer Kenyon Youngstrom as 36-year-old Christopher Boone Lacy.
Lacy, a resident of Corning (Tehama County) was fatally shot by a second CHP officer after he shot Youngstrom, 37, during a traffic stop on southbound I-680 near the Livorna Road exit on Tuesday morning.
Contra Costa County sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee said at a news conference in Martinez Wednesday morning that shortly before the shooting, Youngstrom was responding to a report of a dead deer along the highway.
He had pulled over to the road’s shoulder around 8:30 a.m. when his partner, who was nearby in another patrol car, informed him that he was making a traffic stop on a green Jeep Wrangler with an obstructed license plate, Lee said.
As the Jeep approached, Youngstrom motioned for the driver, Lacy, to pull over. The Jeep stopped near Youngstrom’s cruiser, and Youngstrom’s partner pulled up behind the Jeep in his patrol car, Lee said.
Youngstrom walked up to the Jeep’s driver’s-side window and had a brief conversation with Lacy.
“Then, without any warning, Lacy pulled out a gun and shot Officer Youngstrom in the head,” Lee said.
As Youngstrom fell to the ground, the second officer, whose name has not been released, saw what was happening and began firing into the Jeep from behind, hitting Lacy and critically wounding him, Lee said.
Youngstrom and Lacy were both taken to John Muir Medical Center, where Lacy died. Youngstrom remained in critical condition Wednesday morning.
Inside the Jeep, detectives found a loaded semi-automatic handgun, two loaded magazines and a knife, Lee said.
He said an autopsy conducted on Lacy Wednesday morning showed he died of a gunshot wound to the head.
Lee said Lacy has one prior arrest in 2006 in Marin County for driving under the influence, but does not have any other criminal record. Sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant at Lacy’s home in Corning late Tuesday, gathering computers and other items as part of an investigation into his background.
Lacy’s parents, who live in Oregon, are cooperating with the investigation, Lee said.
By Tuesday afternoon, Youngstrom’s extended family had gathered at John Muir Medical Center. Many of his colleagues joined family members at a vigil at the hospital Tuesday night.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family,” CHP Sgt. Diana McDermott said Wednesday morning.
“He’s a man of faith, he’s close to his family, and right now they’re hurting,” she said.
Youngstrom is a seven-year veteran of the CHP’s Contra Costa-area office.
McDermott described him as a highly supportive colleague who is often the first to volunteer for CHP cookouts and other events.
“He’s the guy that holds the door,” McDermott said.
On Wednesday morning, a cluster of floral bouquets, cards and a balloon had been left in front of the Martinez CHP office on Blum Road.
Concord resident Deborah August brought her 3-year-old daughter Julie to the CHP office Wednesday morning to drop off a “Get Well” card the toddler made for Youngstrom.
August said she was struck by the “callous and careless” shooting that happened so close to home. After her daughter saw a report about the injured officer on the news, August said, she tried to explain what had happened.
“She knows from the uniform that he’s a good guy,” August said. “She seemed pretty sad when I told her he was hurt.”
The CHP is shifting schedules around this week to allow Youngstrom’s colleagues time to cope with the shooting and to rally around the officer’s family, McDermott said.
“We’re just focused on taking care of the family and each other,” she said.
KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:
Meanwhile, the small community of Cordelia is expected to turn out for a candlelight vigil on Wednesday night for Youngstrom who lives there with his wife and four children.
Lynn Reese, a past president of the Oakbrook PTA is the organizer. She said she knows what it’s like to grow up with law enforcement in the family as her father was a Contra Costa County Sheriff.
The vigil is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Ridgeview Park at 4950 Silver Creek Road in Fairfield.
PTA Vice President Susan Young said said the vigil is a chance for community members to “offer their thoughts and prayers” to Youngstrom’s family as he remains on life support.
She said the gathering is also meant to be a time for kids in the community to process their feelings about Tuesday’s shooting.
“It’s an opportunity to give them something constructive to do so we aren’t knocking on the family’s doors…but are still giving support,” Young said.
No speakers are planned during the vigil, which is meant simply to be a time of silent reflection, she said.
The Youngstrom family is not expected to attend Wednesday night’s event.
The CHP is establishing a trust fund for Officer Youngstrom and his family but the details have not yet been finalized. Watch the CHP news releases web site www.chp.ca.gov/news_traffic/index.html for the announcement. In the interim, the California Highway Patrol 11-99 Foundation provides financial assistance to families of fallen officers. The foundation can be reached at www.chp11-99.org, 714-529-1199 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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