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'It will live on': Slain KCSO Deputy Phillip Campas honored with star at Fox Theater

A sheriff’s deputy who gave his heart for his community will forever be honored within the heart of Bakersfield itself.

The Fox Theater unveiled a star Wednesday for slain Kern County sheriff’s Deputy Phillip Campas on its Walk of Stars, during a ceremony attended by his family, friends and members of law enforcement agencies. NaTesha “T” Johnson, president of Fox Theater’s board of directors, said this tribute is bestowed upon a person who left an indelible impact on this community.

“Every time you all come to the Fox Theater, that’s where you’re going to go look,” said Sheriff Donny Youngblood. “That’s a great thing for one of the greatest men I have ever known.”

The star bearing Campas’ badge number, 1392, borders the tile engraved with Youngblood’s name, to the right of the ticket box. Officials with the Kern County Law Enforcement Foundation started the conversation with the Fox Theater to ensure Campas would receive this honor, Johnson said.

Youngblood implored those who see the tribute to understand the sacrifices those in uniform make.

“We accept the danger and we choose this profession because that’s what we really believe in,” Youngblood said. “It is a calling.”

A veteran of the Marines and a KCSO SWAT team member, Campas died July 25 when responding to a domestic violence incident in Wasco. The slain officer was protecting a family from a shooter who also killed his wife, two sons and then himself.

Campas’ family hugged as the red velvet covering the tile was lifted by Youngblood. While gazing at the star, Christine Campas, Phillip’s mother, reverently touched the metal bearing her son’s name.

The KCSO SWAT team formed a semicircle while paying their respects to their fallen brother. All their faces looked overcome with emotion, and one member wiped tears from his face.

Christine Campas and the deputy’s wife, Christina Campas, thanked the community for all the support they received. They also expressed their gratitude toward their family and friends for providing them comfort amid their profound grief.

Phillip Campas’ family seeks to ensure his legacy is never forgotten, his mother and wife said. Now, the streets of Bakersfield will forever bear his name.

“We want his legacy to live on,” Christina Campas said. “We know throughout the community and the SWAT team and the sheriff’s department and our family and friends that it will.

“It will live on.”

You can reach Ishani Desai at 661-395-7417. You can also follow her at @idesai98 on Twitter.