Riverside County sheriff’s deputy is killed in shooting near Lake Elsinore

 Deputies salute and residents hold flags at a procession.
Riverside County sheriff’s deputies salute and residents hold flags as a procession for fallen Deputy Darnell Calhoun passes by on Jan. 13 in Wildomar, Calif.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

A Riverside County sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed Friday near Lake Elsinore, just two weeks after another deputy was fatally shot while on duty, authorities said.

Deputy Darnell Calhoun, 30, was killed while responding to a call involving domestic violence and a child custody matter, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said at a news conference Friday night.

“He’s a husband. A son,” Bianco said, his voice catching. “He would have been a dad.”

Calhoun’s wife is pregnant, the sheriff said.

Sheriff and deputy shake hands in front of department shield
Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy Darnell Calhoun, right, in an undated photo.
(Riverside County Sheriff’s Department)

About 4:20 p.m., sheriff’s dispatchers received an “unknown trouble” call and heard voices in the background, Bianco said.

Calhoun was the first to respond to the 18500 block of Hilldale Lane, a residential area in the unincorporated community of Lakeland Village.

Though it was not clear what happened immediately next, the second deputy on the scene found Calhoun wounded in the street. A gunfight between that deputy and a male suspect ensued, and the deputy shot the suspect, Bianco said.


Calhoun was taken to a hospital, where he was initially listed in serious condition before the Sheriff’s Department announced his death around 8 p.m.

The suspect was treated at the scene and also taken to the hospital, where he was in critical condition, Bianco said.

Video from OnScene.TV showed a heavy law enforcement presence outside Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, with the hospital’s ambulance loading area cordoned off by yellow tape.

The sheriff gave no other details about the suspect.

“We are sadly in a time where there is a growing population that has absolutely zero respect for other people,” Bianco said. “They have zero respect for authority, they have zero respect for law enforcement, and, nationwide, we are confronting these situations with armed individuals over what seemingly seem to be minor disagreements [who] are willing to engage law enforcement in life-and-death gun battles all too frequently.”

Aerial view of law enforcement officers outside a house with crime scene tape
The shooting occurred shortly before 5 p.m. in the 18500 block of Hilldale Lane, a residential area.
(KTLA-TV Channel 5)

Calhoun began his law enforcement career with the San Diego Police Department, where he was hired as a recruit in 2019 before leaving early last year to work for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. He was assigned to the Lake Elsinore station.


“I am devastated at the loss of Deputy Darnell Calhoun,” San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said in a statement. “Deputy Calhoun served our San Diego and Riverside County communities with honor and selflessness. I want to extend my deepest condolences to Deputy Calhoun’s family and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office as our SDPD family and I mourn along side them.”

Sheriff's deputies salute as a procession passes by
Sheriff’s deputies salute as the procession for Riverside County Deputy Darnell Calhoun passes by in Wildomar, Calif.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The shooting rocked the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, coming just one week after Deputy Isaiah Cordero, 32, was laid to rest. Cordero was fatally shot Dec. 29 during a traffic stop in Jurupa Valley.

Cordero’s killer, William Shea McKay, who had a long and violent criminal history, died in a shootout with police after a freeway chase.

Bianco said Cordero was the first Riverside County deputy killed in the line of duty since 2003.

“I unfortunately said this with Deputy Cordero: There is not a person that could say a bad thing about him,” Bianco said. “And now I have to say it with Deputy Calhoun.”


“He was the most cheerful, the most positive, the most good, wholesome man you could imagine. And now a father, a mother, a wife — and us — are trying to figure out why.”

When Calhoun was sworn in last February, Bianco hugged his mother, the sheriff said Friday night.

“I promised that I would take care of him,” he said, then ended the news conference.

Times staff writer Christian Martinez contributed to this report.