When an officer dies in the line of duty, it doesn’t matter where he or she served. It’s a spirit of brotherhood and camaraderie that binds the officers together and draws them from all parts of the country in support of their fallen comrades.
It’s that same spirit of brotherhood that permeated recently at the funeral of California Highway Patrol Officer Kenyon Youngstrom last week, and once again over the weekend at the 2nd Annual Fallen Officer’s Shooting Competition, held at the Art Koch Training Facility in Fairfield.
The event is essentially a two-day shooting competition in which law enforcement professionals compete in various shooting events. The competition honors Fairfield Police Sgt. Art Koch, who was ambushed and killed in July 1984 and Solano County Deputy Sheriff Jose Cisneros, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in August 1985, as well as all the other law enforcement professionals who live and work in this region and have died in the line of duty.
Over 60 local, state and federal law enforcement including military, competed in this year’s competition that serves as a fundraiser for a local charity.
Officers from throughout the Bay area including Humboldt, San Francisco and Stanislaus counties gathered in Fairfield to shoot and raise some money.
Family members, PSA cadets, Explorers, volunteers and vendors were also in attendance. Proceeds from the competition and raffles will be donated to the Fairfield PAL Matt Garcia Youth Center.
The event is hosted by the Fairfield Police Officers Association. Event organizer Officer Cade Beckwith emphasized that the shooting competition is important for two reasons.
“First, we get to honor our fallen brothers and sisters (and) their families…it is very important that the families know we remember their sacrifice as well. We are raising money for our PAL kids in Fairfield,” Beckwith said.
Last year more than $15,000 was raised for PAL.
Michelle Ott, who works for Alcoholic Beverage Control in Concord, was one of just three women who entered the competition. That number is up from last years’ two women who participated.
Michelle enjoys the camaraderie and said, “It’s a way to have fun that’s not work related.”
She plans on competing in years to come and believes that “We should have more events like this, especially in light of what has happened”, referring to the recent tragedy involving CHP Officer Kenyon Youngstrom.
Officer Youngstrom, a 7-year veteran of the CHP who resided in Fairfield, was critically injured during a traffic stop along Interstate 680 in Contra Costa County. Youngstrom’s partner, Tyler Carlton, returned fire on Christopher Lacy, of Corning, who shot Youngstorm, and killed him.
Youngstrom was in critical condition and subsequently died from his injuries in the hospital. The shooting comes at the heels of the shooting of Vallejo Police Officer James Capoot, who was shot and killed in the line of duty while attempting to apprehend suspected bank robber Henry Albert Smith, on Nov. 17.
The opening ceremony featured Susan Moody, wife of fallen officer Brad Moody. She spoke of how her life has changed since her husband was killed in 2008. In describing her husband and other fallen officers she said, “They served, they sacrificed for a purpose greater than themselves. I can think of no truer definition of a hero.”
She acknowledged Officer Youngstrom as well as other fallen officers’ family members who were also in attendance. She ended by reading the names of all fallen officers who worked in Solano County and asking for a moment of silence.