A mass shooting in Wasco that left five dead Sunday has prompted an outpouring of support from the Kern County community.
The gray sides of the Kern County Administrative Building on Truxtun Avenue emitted a deep blue light Tuesday night to commemorate Deputy Phillip Campas, a victim of Sunday’s tragic violence.
“We want to do our part … to show that this has deeply affected our hearts,” said Ally Triolo, the chief communications officer for the county of Kern.
Officials will continue to light the building blue for an indeterminate amount of time, Triolo said.
“Our community will never forget this loss,” Triolo said. “We are so appreciative of Deputy Campas’ sacrifice and what he's done for our community. He's clearly made such an impact on our residents.”
Kern County Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop ensured the commemoration became a reality, Triolo said. Within a day, the maintenance staff screwed in blue light bulbs to be on display.
“Deputy Campas is a true Kern County hero and his memory will live on each and every day,” Triolo said.
Kern County Board of Supervisors Chairman Phillip Peters also adjourned Tuesday’s meeting in honor of Campas, emphasizing solidarity with the Campas family.
“It was very difficult for us to have to conduct a board meeting ... after this terrible situation,” Triolo said. “It was just an important moment for our county leaders to make a public statement that all we are thinking about is honoring Deputy Campas.”
On Friday, nonprofits supporting law enforcement will host a procession and vigil in honor of Campas. The creators of the event include nonprofits supporting law enforcement: Kern County First Responders, The Thin Line Foundation and Giving Back the Badge.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. at Chuy’s Mesquite Broiler on Rosedale Highway, starting with the national anthem sung by Rylee Lopeteguy.
After a prayer session, a vehicle procession will begin around 7:15 p.m. and end at the Kern County Sheriff’s Office at 1350 Norris Road. There, organizers put together a candlelight vigil.
Slated speakers for the night include a benediction from Chaplain Rick Gildez and speeches from Wasco Mayor Alex Garcia and Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh, among others. Perry Finzel, a Marine veteran and a representative from Kevin McCarthy’s office, will also give remarks.
All Bakersfield Fire Department stations also changed their station lights to emit blue, said Deputy Chief Kevin Albertson. Furthermore, many BFD personnel have demonstrated their mourning by wearing a black slash across their badges, which represents losing a fellow officer, Albertson added. BFD also changed the lights within the 9/11 memorial to be blue.
“Any time that we have something as devastating as losing a deputy … or what we consider our public safety family, it hits us hard,” Albertson said. “We rely on law enforcement to not only keep the public safe, but they also keep us safe when we go out on calls. We are mourning with them and we're grieving with them and we will support them any way that we can.”
Sheriff Donny Youngblood wrapped his badge with a black band displaying Campas’ badge number in white: 1392.
Kern County Fire Department also wore badges with a mourning band. All KCFD offices are flying their flags at half-staff, said Erica Bain, the public information officer for KCFD.
Lisa Kendrick, from the nonprofit Giving Back the Badge, said she hopes to display a billboard near Mohawk Street and Rosedale Highway and another near the Sheriff’s Office.
“I just wanted to show them that we're here for you,” Kendrick said.
The Sheriff’s Office set up an email for condolences: email@example.com.
People in Wasco rallied to gather funds for the Ramirez family, who suffered the loss of mother Viviana and two sons, Angel and Jose Manuel III. Donors can bring clothing items for the two young Ramirez girls, survivors of the mass shooting.
Drop-off locations include the Community Circle Church, Wasco Elementary School or at Councilman Tilo Cortez’s office.
There is also a Target registry to buy clothing for the little girls. It can be found online here: bit.ly/3y8DZUB