VACAVILLE (CBS13) – Thousands turned out on Thursday to say goodbye to CHP Officer Kenyon Youngstrom, who was gunned down earlier this month during a traffic stop in the Bay Area.
Police say Youngstrom, 37, was shot by 36-year-old Christopher Boone Lacy, who was then killed by the officer’s patrol partner, Tyler Carlton, on Sept. 4 on Interstate 680 near Walnut Creek.
“No matter how long of a day we had out on the road … he would come back to the office with a smile on his face and an encouraging word to lift the rest of us up,” Carlton said of Youngstrom at the funeral.
A sea of blue and green filled Vacaville’s Mission Church and spilled outside. Officers from as far away as Alaska came to pay their respects.
Jeffrey Coffey came all the way from Indiana.
“I’ve seen some of our New York counterparts,” he said of other officers in attendance. “I’ve got an Idaho trooper here with me and an Arizona trooper here with me just to show our respect for a fallen officer.”
And even those with no ties to law enforcement or Youngstrom’s family, perfect strangers, came out to pay honor to the slain officer.
“I think it’s important that not just the law enforcement come, but people in the community also because they’re protecting us,” Vacaville resident Kathy Green said.
Frank Wheeler of Vacaville said he was driven to come when he saw Texas officers pull into a car wash Wednesday.
“I was washing my vehicle when they came in to get theirs washed, so I said, ‘Well, if it’s that important for them to come that far, I should be coming out too,'” he said.
Inside Mission Church, more than 2,200 seats were filled with Officer Youngstrom’s comrades, friends and family, including the officer’s wife and four young children.
Youngstrom’s son Alex talked about his dad’s fun-loving nature.
“He loved to tell stories,” Alex told the gathering. “He loved his job. He loved to smile, but what I think he loved more was making other people smile.”
Whether officer or civilian, for the thousands who watched a child say goodbye to his father, it was a heartbreaking moment.
“I just felt really bad for his son,” Green said. “I can imagine he’s going to miss his dad a lot.”