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Family, Alhambra Community Mourns Slain L.A. Sheriff’s Deputy

Photo by Phoenix Tso.


Alhambra , CA United States

More than 100 people attended a vigil on Thursday evening for a Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputy who was shot in the head at a restaurant in Alhambra earlier in the week.

Joseph Solano’s son and step-daughter were among the family members who mourned the fallen deputy outside the Jack In the Box restaurant at the corner of Valley Boulevard and Fremont Avenue, where Solano was shot on Monday evening.

Alhambra Mayor Adele Andrade-Stadler and Councilmember Jeff Maloney represented the Alhambra City Council at the vigil, with Andrade-Stadler calling Solano “our brother” and telling his family, “We are here for you.”

Officers from the L.A. Sheriff’s Department, the Alhambra Police Department and the South Pasadena Police Department attended the vigil in uniform along with dozens of community members. Attendees laid flowers down on the lawn in front of the Jack In the Box, lit candles and wrote tributes to Solano on a large poster board which had pictures of Solano.

The vigil also featured a prayer and the singing of “Amazing Grace” and “This Little Light of Mine.”

LaWanda Hawkins and Tina Yamashiro work as volunteer advocates for families who have lost members to violence. They organized the vigil to support Solano’s family.

“We’re just trying to get the word out about senseless violence,” said Yamashiro, who lost her 16-year-old grandniece to gun violence in 2008.

A 13-year veteran of the L.A. Sheriff’s Department, Solano, 50, was in civilian clothing at the time of the shooting and was not displaying anything that would identify him as a member of law enforcement.

Alhambra police and fire personnel were the first to respond and transported Solano to L.A. County – USC Medical Center. Solano had suffered a gunshot to the head, and died of his injuries on Wednesday afternoon.

Long Beach police officers detained Rhett McKenzie Nelson, 30, of St. George, Utah as a suspect in the shooting on Tuesday. His family reported him missing in Utah after he left the family home on May 25, Alhambra Police Chief Timothy Vu told Alhambra Police Department community information meeting Wednesday night.

Solano’s murder is the first homicide in Alhambra in 2019.

Nelson is also a suspect in the shooting death of 30-year-old Dmitry Alekseyevich Kolstov in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Times. Nelson was charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder for shooting at another man who was with Kolstov at the time. That man was not injured.

Our Leah Zhang interviews some of the community members that attended the event:

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