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Slain CHP Officer Donates Organs As Family, Friends Mourn Loss

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Kenyon Youngstrom

Kenyon Youngstrom (California Highway Patrol)

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WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) – A California Highway Patrol officer who died of his injuries following a traffic stop shooting on an East Bay highway had his organs donated and is helping save the lives of eight people, according to the CHP.

Officer Kenyon Youngstrom had prearranged to have his organs donated, and his wishes were being carried out, CHP officials said.

In a statement issued courtesy of the California Transplant Donor Network, Youngstrom’s family said “Kenyon was always giving to others and serving others as a CHP Officer and in his life with us. Our grief is overwhelming. But in his special way, Kenyon carries on in helping others. Those who knew him would not be surprised to learn that Kenyon chose to register as an organ and tissue donor.

“When Kenyon graduated from the police academy, he was told his job was to save a life. He does so now through his decision.

“Through this gift, he will save the lives of those who need transplants as well as potentially improve the lives of many. This was our Kenyon, he’s our hero and in the midst of our grief, we are comforted to know he continues to help.”

Youngstrom 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.

His family has asked for privacy as they grieve together, and “learn how to face tomorrow without Kenyon,” 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.”

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Flags were flying at half-staff across the state Thursday in honor of Youngstrom who died Wednesday after he was shot Tuesday morning during a traffic stop on Interstate Highway 680 in Alamo.

The Fairfield resident 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.

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.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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