VACAVILLE (CBS SF) - Thousands of law enforcement officers, government officials and community members gathered in Vacaville Thursday to say goodbye to California Highway Patrol Officer Kenyon Youngstrom, who was shot and killed by a driver during a routine traffic stop last week.
The memorial service for the 37-year-old CHP officer and father of four at Mission Church in Vacaville drew a wide roster of state and local officials, including Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Youngstrom was shot in the head on Sept. 4 by 36-year-old Christopher Boone Lacy, the driver of a Jeep Wrangler he had stopped on Interstate 680 near Alamo for an obstructed license plate.
Youngstrom’s CHP beat partner, Officer Tyler Carlton, then shot Lacy multiple times, killing him.
Youngstrom was pronounced dead the next day at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. He is the 223rd CHP officer to have been killed in the line of duty.
Carlton was among several speakers at Thursday’s memorial service.
“I often have thoughts of ‘Why?’ or ‘What if?’ or ‘I could have,’” he said, his voice at times cracking with emotion. “But then I remind myself everything does happen for a reason, that this was all in God’s plan, and his plans are perfect every time.”
“Ken, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for always being there for me, and I look forward to seeing you again,” Carlton said, receiving a standing ovation from attendees, who filled the church to capacity Thursday.
Speeches and prayers were interspersed with some of the slain officer’s favorite songs, including a CHP anthem found on a CD in Youngstrom’s car.
Raw Video: Officer Tyler Carlton Speaks At Partner Officer Youngstrom’s Funeral
Youngstrom’s eldest son Alex also spoke, remembering his father’s “goofy” antics around the house.
“He went out of his way to make people laugh,” he said. “We’re going to miss him a lot.”
Youngstrom’s son, colleagues and other speakers described him as an exceptionally warm and friendly man dedicated to family, faith and his career.
“His dream was to be a CHP officer,” CHP Commissioner Joseph Farrow said. “While he accomplished this, it was taken away from him far too soon.”
Farrow praised Carlton, whom he said “displayed extraordinary courage under extraordinary circumstances” on the day of the shooting.
The CHP commissioner and other CHP personnel who spoke during the service noted the outpouring of support the agency has received from community members statewide over the past week and a half.
Chief Theresa Becher of the CHP’s Golden Gate Division also credited local emergency responders such as John Muir Medical Center staff whom she said were instrumental in keeping Youngstrom alive long enough for his family to say goodbye and to donate his organs.
Since the shooting, the officer’s organ and tissue donations have gone to four California residents, including a 52-year-old Bay Area woman who had been waiting for a decade for a transplant and a 29-year-old mother who received Youngstrom’s left kidney and pancreas.
Youngstrom is survived by his wife Karen, his two sons and two daughters, his parents Jill and Guy Youngstom, four brothers and a sister.
Donations to the Kenyon Marc Youngstrom Children’s Benefit Memorial fund may be made at any Wells Fargo bank.
Donations can also be made at any Mechanics Bank on checks made payable to “For the Benefit of Kenyon Youngstrom.”
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)