Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Officer Ambers O. Shewmaker

California Highway Patrol, California

End of Watch Monday, November 24, 1969

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Reflections for Officer Ambers O. Shewmaker

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

My first wife went to school w/Sonny. I met him Once, and was on patrol when he was murdered, and Bill Valkenburg w/ PSPD caught the perpetrator. I am doing research on the case to do an article to submit to the Desert Sun or Press Enterprise so that Sonny will not be forgotten. I worked with Valkenburg when I was a Detective w/PSPD, (1963-1969). I would like to contact family members to complete the story. My I.D. #w0RSO was 330, 1969-1994, so you know I am not a quack. My first wife knew him as "sonny", and that was how I was introduced to him. Any and all info anyone has that can help me would be appreciated. I know our homicide guys investigated the murder, so I am attempting to get ahold of the reports of the incident.

Lt. Steven M. Hadley
Riverside Sheriff

December 23, 2006

The weapon that killed Sonny was a 9mm semi-auto. He and I traded beats that night, we never got to trade again. I have seven grandkids now, I think of Sonny often.

Joe Thompson
CHP retired

May 9, 2005

Rest in Peace my brother

Anonymous

February 4, 2004

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