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KCSO deputy died of COVID-19, union says

KCSO deputy

This image, created by the Kern County Sheriff's Office, memorializes Deputy Gabriel Gonzales, who died from COVID-19 on Thursday.

The Kern Law Enforcement Association says a 45-year-old sheriff's deputy who worked out of Frazier Park has died from COVID-19.

A donation page set up by KLEA says Gabriel Gonzales entered a hospital Sept. 11 and died on Thursday. He leaves behind his parents, girlfriend and five children. Also, his brother is a fellow deputy, according to the page.

“This hits us really, really deeply,” Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said in a video posted Monday on Facebook. “The loss of a deputy sheriff, especially a 45-year-old deputy sheriff is just devastating to us and his family members.”

Gonzales worked for the Sheriff’s Office for 11 years. KLEA hopes to raise $50,000 to donate to his family. A memorial has been made of Gonzales’ patrol vehicle, and the union has invited the public to drop off flowers at 4809 Pine Castle Ave.