Memorial planned for fallen deputies

A small group of community members is raising money to build a memorial for Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies who died in the line of duty while serving the Foothills decades ago.

Planned for a grassy area just outside the station’s entrance at 4554 Briggs Ave. in La Crescenta, the semi-circular stone structure — roughly three feet high and 18 feet in diameter — would invite visitors to step up into a paved area featuring a raised bronze Sheriff’s star.

A bronze memorial plaque along the inside of the wall would feature two names: Dep. David A. Horr, who was shot on Dec. 7, 1957, while responding to a domestic violence call and later died from those wounds; and Reserve Dep. Charles D. Rea, who drowned on Jan. 26, 1969, during an effort to reach victims of rockslides and flooding in Big Tujunga Canyon.

“We thought it was about time that we honored these people. We’re hoping for something simple, yet meaningful,” said Lisa Dutton, a past president of the nonprofit Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Support Group.

Dutton and former Crescenta Valley Town Council President Steve Pierce are leading the fundraising effort for the memorial and hope to break ground this summer.

So far the two have collected private donations of a little more than $10,000 — about half of what is needed to build the memorial and maintain it for years to come.

Costs include $6,000 for casting of the large bronze Sheriff’s star, including raised silver-alloy design work, said Pierce, who was previously named honorary mayor by the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Although donations are being handled through the Sheriff’s Support Group, the memorial effort is separate from that group’s activities and will not use any of that group’s funding, Dutton said.

Walls of the memorial — designed by former Town Council member Richard Toyon — will be constructed from native “river rock,” including stones pulled from the area where Rea, who had been with the Montrose Search and Rescue Team, died.

“Every day our deputies go out and put their lives on the line for the community, and this is a small way to honor those who did not come back,” said Pierce.

But for Don Sutton, son of slain Dep. Horr, it may also be a way of finding some closure to the trauma of losing his father when he was just 8 years old.

Sutton, whose mother married Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station Capt. P.L. Sutton about six years after Horr died, recalled very difficult times following his father’s death.

“He was a man who loved his family. When my dad was shot that evening, my two brothers and I were never able to make a connection to him again. We weren’t allowed to visit him at the hospital, and we weren’t part of the ceremony at Forest Lawn [after he died Feb. 9, 1958],” said Sutton, now 61.

Devastated by the loss of his father and abuse suffered at the hands of a relative, Sutton said he spent much of his childhood in the juvenile probations system before joining the Army.

“There wasn’t really even a grieving period. I’m trying to recapture that with this endeavor. Personally, I’m coming full circle back to a childhood that was lost,” he said.

Send donations for the memorial to Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Memorial Fund, c/o CVSSG, PO Box 12458, La Crescenta 91214. For more information, call (818) 249-8378 or (818) 248-7859.

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