Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Officer Ambers O. Shewmaker

California Highway Patrol, California

End of Watch Monday, November 24, 1969

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Officer Ambers O. Shewmaker

Rest In Peace Brother. You are remembered and honored today the 48th anniversary of your E.O.W.

Officer Mike Robinson, (Ret)
Upland Police Dept. CA

November 24, 2017

We often travel between Phoenix and San Bernardino, and I will watch for the dedication sign. Officer Shewmaker is remembered today, whereas his murderer has no memorial.

Stan Jefferson
Citizen of Arizona

November 24, 2017

I saw the sign,on the 10frwy,and wondered who Ambers Shewmaker was. I was sad to see that he was killed in the line of duty.

Jaime Garcia
No relation

September 2, 2015

Just read about Troy and learned of your sacrifice you made, the world will be less without you brave people. I am so sorry to hear of these things happening. I am proud of you and Troy and im sure your family is as well. May you both, rest in peace, I wish I could have known you as friends, thank you for all you have done.
M.D.B.

civilian, M.D.B.

May 10, 2014

I just attended an amazing memorial dedication in Beaumont, California for Officer Ambers "Sonny" Shewmaker. Forty four years after his death a portion of the I-10 freeway where he was shot on November 23, 1969 will be dedicated to Office Shewmaker.

My name is Fred Hamilton I was 18 years old heading home to Palm Springs when I came across the scene where Officer Shewmaker was killed. It was approximately 8:00 PM the evening of November 23, 1969 just 200 yards before the Malki (Cabazon) turnoff when I spotted a CHP cruiser parked on the side of the freeway. The drivers door was slightly open, dome light was on, however, I could not see anyone inside the vehicle. Approximately 50 yards further ahead of the patrol car was a stopped vehicle- I parked my car behind this vehicle and observed a man getting out of the car- I in turn got out of my car and approached the person and asked "what was going on, does someone need help?" Responding to my question the man replied " I'm getting out of here" he got back in his car and drove off.

I was traveling with my friend Jeff Fidler who was a couple of miles behind me in his car and while I was walking towards the patrol car Jeff was pulling up and parking his car behind where I was parked.

As I reached the front of the CHP patrol car I noticed that the man I had spoken to had circled back on the side surface road and parked adjacent to the patrol car, climbed the fence and was back at the drivers door of the CHP patrol car. Again, I asked him what was going on and he responded saying "I had nothing to do with this and I'm getting out of here". He left and drove off.
By this time my friend Jeff had approached the front of the patrol car with me and we looked in and saw Officer Shewmaker slumped in the front seat of the patrol car.

I picked up the microphone and radioed in for help- not sure what I said but HELP was probably what I said- the dispatcher responded and asked our location- I was never very good with my East West directions so Jeff got on the radio and gave them our exact location. Jeff took the car keys and proceeded to open the trunk , grab a box of flares and blocked all the lanes except for a small partial lane along the center median. Jeff was 17 at the time and later went on the become an agent for the FBI.

The first officer on the scene was Officer Connors. I had the privilege of meeting him today at the dedication services. I gave the officer a description of the car and the person that I had spoken to and he relayed that information on the radio. We later that evening found out that the person had been arrested in Palm Springs a few hours later.

Both Jeff and I were transported to the Banning Sheriffs substation- Actually, they allowed us to drive our vehicles but we were escorted by five patrol cars in front of us and five patrol cars behind us -- all with their lights flashing. I suppose they believed we were suspects at that time.

When we arrived at the station we met two young men dressed like they were traveling- both had back packs. Jeff and I refer to them as the "hippies". As it turns out the hippies were hitchhikers and were picked up earlier by Myrick and were in the car with Gene Myrick (The Killer). This was the car and the person that I parked behind and spoke to. The Hippies told us they were in the car when they were stopped by Officer Shewmaker and were witness to the actual shooting. After Myrick shot Office Shewmaker and drove off the Hippies convinced him that he needed to get his Idea back from the patrol car- it was at this point that Myrick had stopped his car (50 yards) ahead of the patrol car and this is when I pulled up. The Hippies also convinced Myrick to let them go and they hightailed it into the desert. They saw me stop as they were running away towards Cabazon where they called the Police.

I testified in court and identified Gene Myrick as the person who I had seen at the scene and was indeed the person who shot Officer Shewmaker.

44 years is a long time but I remember this like it happened yesterday.

I went on to work in the newspaper business and retired two years ago as CEO and publisher for the Los Angeles Newsgroup- LANG publishes the San Bernardino Sun and Redlands Daily Facts and 7 other SoCal newspapers.

Fred Hamilton
"first on the scene"
November 19,2013

Fred Hamilton

November 19, 2013

Our dear darling Sonny--I remember you as a high school student who came to our house often to work on my sister's old 1934 Plymouth during your senior year! You were also one of our neighborhood "kids" and the sweetest one of those who came to work on the old car. When you and Kandie got married, you came up to me all smiles just after the ceremony and took hold of my hand, saying, "You're getting married next!" like he would to a kid sister and flashed that warm and beautiful smile. I was on my way to final exams at CSUSB when I heard the news over the car radio. I pulled off the road and sat there in shock. I tried to take my exams, but I cried and sobbed all the way through them and had to excuse myself a few times. Still today, when I drive that route to CSUSB, I think of you and when I briefly taught the new recruits basic writing skills prior to the report writing class at Ben Clark Public Safety and Training Center in Moreno Valley, I told them your story. I will be there at your dedication with Penny & Joe, Vera Jean, and Kandie and Jim. We miss you and love you and will remember you fondly, dear friend, Sonny.

Pamela Smyth
Childhood Friend and Neighbor

October 28, 2013

The San Gorgonio Pass CHP Area
Cordially Invites You To
The Memorial Highway Dedication
To Honor

Officer Ambers O. “Sonny” Shewmaker #7059
E.O.W November 24, 1969

Held at:
Beaumont City Multi-Purpose Room
550 East 6th Street
Beaumont, CA 92223
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Please RSVP by November 11, 2013
to Officer Darren Meyer #15611
(951)769-2000 or [email protected]

Kandie Shewmaker Cansler
widow of Sonny

October 24, 2013

Back again Brother. I was just contacted by CPT. Greg Peck, commander of the Banning office, and he related that there will be a dedication of the Fwy. in Banning in your honor. I have been calling some officers, and have got myself, and two other officers going to the dedication. If anyone else can make, it will be Nov. 19, 2013, 10:00 A. M. at the Beaumont civic center. I will be contacting more officers soon. Kandie, it will be a honor, and pleasure for all of us to see you, and family there. (See my post from Aug. 19, 2012.)

Danny Saam, STO, Ret. #7277.

Officer Danny Saam, 7277 Ret.
CHP Indio, Ca.

October 23, 2013

Have just been notified that a portion of the Interstate 10 fwy will be dedicated in Sonny's name...the San Gorgonio CHP office has ask that anyone who might want to speak at the dedication ceremony contact me and let me know...the date has not yet been set, but will more than likely be 2013 on or near the date of his death which was November 24th.

Kandie Shewmaker Cansler

Kandie Shewmaker Cansler
wife

February 22, 2013

Dear Sonny: As the anniversary of your murder approaches I think of all the things you did not live to see and I am sad. Your death certainly reminds all officers that there is no such thing as "a routine stop."

I thank you for your service and sacrifice. You are not forgotten. Please keep watch over my beloved San Bernardino Squad.

With love,
LoVae

LoVae Pray Martines, Law Enf. Liaison
MADD, San Bernardino County

November 18, 2012

Hi Sonny;

I never met you, but think fondly of you often. I reported to Indio CHP only a couple of weeks before your incident. I drive by your incident (10-20) nearly every week, and think of you silently, unless someone new is with me, at which time I tell them of the story, and your sacrafice. When I relate the story, I mention that your incident was not in vain, and its lesson was one reason a new, young, officer survived for 38 years on patrol. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks.

Danny Saam, 7277, CHP Ret.

State Traffic Officer, Ret, Danny Saam.
Indio CHP.

August 19, 2012

R.I.P. Officer Shewmaker. Thank you and all the rest of the officers for your Service.

Mike Gagnon
Son of Don Gagnon CHP Badge #6116
If you knew my father (he passed away in 2006) I would love to hear from you.

Mike Gagnon

June 6, 2012

Still thinking about your service...Thank you and God Bless you and your family....#7185

STO Mike Becze #7185
California Highway Patrol

May 23, 2012

Sonny, as the anniversary of your sacrifice is approaching, I am once again filled with sadness. My husband Bob went to school with Kandie and I have since met and become friends with her and love her. I never met you, but the tragedy of your loss has had an impact on my life. I have many friends and relatives on CHP and any loss of an officers hurts my heart and soul. This Thanksgiving we will remember you and give you our thanks for protecting us in your short time here.

LoVae Pray Martines, citizen
MADD San Bernardino Co. LE Liaison

November 18, 2011

I met you at the Academy in 1969. You were in our Senior Class...I was reading your story and just wanted to say that I am sorry that you career was so short. Your service will never be forgotten. Just over 4 months after your passing we had the Newhall incident. I was working South LA the night of the Newhall incident and along with your passing and then followed by the 4 brave officers at Newhall my career started very sadly. I can not express how much you have been missed and how much you would have done for the Blue and Gold. Semper Fi fellow CHPY and God Bless you and your family...#7185

William M. Becze State Traffic Officer #
California Highway Patrol/Susanville PD

July 25, 2011

I recently attended the memorial service for 4 Lakewood Police officers killed in Washington State. Over 20,000 law enforcement personnel were on hand to show support and tribute to the 4 fallen officers.
Prior to attending the service I spoke with a man who shared with me his account of a fallen brother that occurred 40 years ago - almost to the date.
Eddie Conner, a former California Highway Patrolman badge #6480, told me of a man named Sonny Shewmaker, and of the night that Sonny made the ultimate sacrifice. These are an account of that night;
Eddie Conner and Sonny Shewmaker were working adjoining beats that night. It was a calm and quiet night and earlier in the shift Eddie and Sonny were car to car discussing a registration traffic stop that Sonny just made. Sonny had not been on for very long and had some questions for Eddie. Sonny mentioned to Eddie that he had family in town for thanksgiving and they were over at his house. Eddie told Sonny to go home and enjoy dinner with his family and friends and Eddie would cover for him. Sonny thanked him and went home for his dinner. A few hours later Sonny and Eddie met up again on another car to car meet and Eddie updated Sonny on anything that had occurred while Sonny was gone. There was not much to tell, it had been a quiet evening.
After the brief meeting they departed and Eddie went home to grab a quick bite to eat. Eddie entered his house and was met by his 2 year old son Casey. Eddie picked up Casey and went back to the bedroom to check on his wife who had been sick at the time. Eddie had another son, Andy, who was only about 10 months old and was sleeping at the time. Eddie had only been in his house a short time when the phone rang. He answered the phone and it was Dispatch telling him that there was an 1199 on his beat. Eddie told dispatch that he would get the rest in the car. He rushed to his patrol car and received the rest of the info from dispatch. Eddie pushed his cruiser to the limit reaching speeds of over 140mph to get to his fallen partner. When he arrived he found that 3 Marines had been driving by and saw Sonny’s patrol car on the road and stopped to see what was wrong. They had called out a “mayday” on Sonny’s radio to get help. Eddie checked on Sonny and quickly discovered that he had been shot 2 times in the head. He radioed for an ambulance and did what he could for Sonny until help arrived. Eddie then interviewed one of the Marine’s for a description of the suspect. Eddie did the interview over the radio so everyone who was responding could hear it.
Once the ambulance arrived Eddie helped load Sonny up and road to the Loma Linda Hospital with Sonny. When they got into the ER Eddie was about to leave and wait outside when the doctor told him to stay and that he needed his help. The doctor had Eddie cut off Sonny’s clothes and shave Sonny’s head to prep him for surgery. After he was done Eddie waited out in the ER. Later that night Sonny’s wife was brought to the hospital and Eddie spoke with her briefly.
When Eddie told me the part of him speaking to Sonny’s wife it took me back to an event that I was involved in on December 2nd 2006. My friend Deputy Steve Cox was also shot in the head 2 times just like Sonny was. I guarded his door at the hospital while doctors kept Steve alive so his family could say goodbye. I remember while I guarded his room seeing family members come in one at a time to say goodbye to Steve. When I saw their faces all I could see was my own Father’s face, my mother’s face, my brother’s face as each of them walked by me into Steve’s room. I saw Steve’s wife crying over him on his bed. I thought to myself this could have been me and my wife crying over me. These memories are etched into my mind and now I understood how Eddie could remember Sonny’s incident with such detail.
Eddie went on to say how it was his great honor to be at the head of Sonny’s casket and stand guard over him during the memorial service and funeral. I did not do Eddie’s story justice. Eddie gave me more accounts in such meticulous detail that it would take a short novel to document everything he told me that had happened that night. Eddie stayed on for a few more years but when he couldn’t get transferred up to northern California he decided to leave the job that he loved, not because of what happened to Sonny but because he wanted to raise him Family in a better place.
One thing is for sure, the Tradition, Honor, courage, and Respect that runs True Blue through the hearts of Law Enforcement officers everywhere has stood the test of time and adversity. I am honored to wear the uniform and humbled by my brothers and sisters who have given the ultimate sacrifice. You may ask how I came across Eddie and his story.
Well, he is my father. I was the 10 month old baby in the story home sleeping while my Dad was on the beat with his partner Sonny keeping the rest of us safe. I’ve heard Sonny’s story before when I was growing up along with other countless stories my dad told my brothers and I. I remember my Dad’s closest friends who would visit us throughout the years were always his old CHP buddies. Now that I also wear the uniform and have gone through the pain of seeing a brother fall in the line of duty my dad’s stories mean a lot more to me. As my dad told me the story of Sonny this last time I felt the familiar pain for Sonny, not like when I was a child, but now for Sonny as a fellow brother who lost his life serving and protecting his family and his community. This month marks 12 years of service with the King County Sheriff’s Office. My younger brother Troy, who was yet to be born when Sonny died, also wore the King County Sheriff’s Uniform with pride for several years. Many people throughout the years have asked me why I became a cop, I told them……………., I wanted to do what my Dad did!
I talk with my dad often and there has never been a conversation that didn’t end it with him telling me, “Be careful, and remember – there are NO Routine calls”. I guess Sonny has a large part in that, thanks Sonny.
If you would like to get the full detailed story of Sonny you can contact my dad through me – [email protected] – I will pass your info onto my dad.

Deputy Andy Conner – King County Sheriff #06846, Seattle Washington

Deputy AR Conner
King County Sheriff

December 13, 2009

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 40th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya
mother of fallen officer Larry Lasater

November 24, 2009

Rest in Peace, Officer Shewmaker. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169

October 22, 2009

On March 25th 2009, The Banning California Highway Patrol Office (Highland Springs Rd. Beaumont, CA) will be holding a "rededication" ceremony in honor of Sonny Shewmaker. The ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m. and goes through 3:00p.m. and will include an Open House for the Banning CHP Office. I would appreciate it if this information could be forwarded to Lt.Steven M. Hadley from the Riverside Sheriffs Dept. He posted an earlier tribute and ask for additional contact with our family. Many of our family will be attending and would welcome anyone who wants to honor Sonny's memory. More information can be obtained by contacting Officer Chris Blondon at the Highland Springs Road CHP office. Thank you so much......Kandie Shewmaker Cansler

Kandie Shewmaker Cansler
Widow of Officer Sonny Shewmaker

March 19, 2009

I remember this incident well! I was only a couple months out of the Academy and a few days off "break-in", working I-10 on the Whitewater Grade. Banning's eastern-most beat connected with Indio's western-most beat, the respective officers often waved or chatted on the "turn around." Eastbound traffic was always the fastest. I was next in line, if Sonny hadn't stopped this guy, he would have been passing by me just a few miles further east.

I remember the frenzied effort to locate the suspect, conflicting descriptions and sightings. Most of the Indio CHP units were on the freeway looking for him - thank goodness Palm Springs PD covered Hwy 111 leading into their city!

The memory of this incident remained with me throughout my career. There were dozens of times a little voice in the back of my mind would caution me to "watch this guy."

Sgt. Don Maxfeldt
CHP Retired

April 29, 2008

You are remembered today and thank you Sir for your service

Pat Van Den Berghe, Manchester, NH
Neighbors for a Better Manchester, NH

November 26, 2007

In a few moments, a fellow Cowboy and I will be driving near the site of that tragic event, on our way to have a drink in memory of Officer Shewmaker, and all Inland Empire CHP officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Officer Shewmaker: May You Rest - In - Peace.

Maj M. B. Parlor
USMC / LAPD

November 24, 2007

The last night with Sonny. Sonny's last shift was a Sunday September 23, 1969. There were only four of us on that night in the Banning Area. Tom Konzem, Eddie Connor and myself. The call came outin the evening that there was a stolen vehicle last seen e/b on Highway 60 from Riverside. For the record the piece of crap driving the 10851 had a string of armed robberies going and at one mom and pop store he had robbed the couple, locked them in the refer and set fire to the store. After he did an armed robbery in Riverside he picked up two hitch hikers. Sonny came out of lunch and dispatch neglected to let him know of the 211 car. (So I was told) Sonny went to dinner with his family and headed back out to the beat I'm not sure of what time. Later that evening Sonny stopped the 211 PC 10851, Sonny made his approach and got "Oh, I only have my temp drivers license with me but the registration is in the glove box. Its my unkles car. (All this info from the two hitchhikers) Sonny told the driver to come back to the car when he found the regiatration and have a seat. (This was prior to Newhall in a time that was very different regarding Officer Safety. ) Sonny went back to the car sat down and started to write the tag, Gene Myrick. (the butwipe) reached under the seat and removed a 9 mm and announced to the peds that he was going to shoot the cop. The peds sat there frozen as Myrick steped to the patrol car, opened the r/f door and sat down. When the coward was sure that Sonny was helpless Myrick fired two or three shots ar Sonny. Sonnys strong heart beat till Monday morning but he was gone after the first few seconds. Myrick ran back to the stolen car and sped away. The hitchhikers were freaking out (so they said) and one of them reminded Myrick that he had left his temp DL with the police officer. He stopped the car and tried to back up but was all over the freeway. When he stopped the car the peds jumped out. Myrick drove down to an access road (Verbenia Ave) and came back west (Sonny made the stop w/b on I-10 at Stubby Canyon (just east of Cabazon). Myrick came back to the scene which by now had attracted a "citizen" who was on the radio The citizen was keying the mike and saying things like Mayday Mayday there is a patrolman injured, it looks like he was hit by a truck, (there was glass from the drivers door all over the #4 lane.) The citizen noticed Myrick digging around the patrol car and said What the Hell are you doing and Myreck the coward fled back to the car and west bound on Outer 10.
Eddie Connor got the call from dispatch as he was at lunch, he responded and immediately realized the situation. He put out the 11 99 and recovered Myricks Temp DL, he also found that Sonny had written the License plate # on the 215 (Ticket). Tom Konzem and I were in Yucaipa, he and I headed toward Banning. When I got to Live Oak dispatch gave a vehicle and subject description was the vehicle last seen w/b on Outer 10. I set up w/b on 10 at the Live Oak on ramp to look for the vehicle. About 30 minutes later (so it seems) PSPD caught up with Myrick around Windy Point. He surrendered in Cowardly fashon. Eddie Conner tried to do what he could for Sonny waiting for the ambulance. They took Sonny to Loma Linda I think, it was the best trauma hospital then. Sony died early in the morning hours. Eddie stayed on the patrol just a few more years. He was trying to comute from Northern Calif. He would take ten days off and work 20 straight to do this comute, he was happy with it difficult as it was but the CHP brass told him to quit or do days off their way. Eddie quit and it was too bad, I saw the look on his face when he had to hand in the badge and cap piece. (Tom Konzem retired not to many years after Sonny was killed in a fight with a Ped on the freeway near Redlands. The ped tackeled Tom and knocked him backwards onto the top of a freeway sprinkler breaking his back) Tom was writing him a ticket at the time. A passing police officer came to Toms aid as this guy was trying to get Toms gun away from him The Last I heard Tom was a pharmacist. Me, I spent some time in Riverside after 13 years in Banning, then I went to Humboldt and retired in 95. I am presently an investigator for Humboldt County. Good bless you Sonny. those twelve years I worked Banning I always gave you a thought e/b at Stubby Canyon and e/b at Calimesa. There must have been 500 cop cars at your services. One of the motors went down in front of me but didn't get hurt on the way to the gravesite. Sonnys death had a huge impact on the entire squal. I know that Rod Nall quit early and probably this was part of it. Rod loved baseball the same as Sonny did. They were on a team together and Rod talked Sonny into coming on. I dont mind saying that it was the first time I cried for the loss of a man. The loss to his family was immeseaurable.

Joe Thompson 6866 retired
CHP

May 26, 2007

Hi. Thank you for leaving the reflection on my father's page. I have spoken to my mother and she was just so touched that you remembered her. Not sure if you recieved my email I sent you with her information. Please let me know if you still want to connect. Thank you and God Bless

Rachel Blomo Courtright
friend of family

May 14, 2007

Rest in peace, Sir! You are not forgotten.

Police Officer

March 20, 2007

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