Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Dep. Lillian Peck
Los Angeles County Sheriff 

How a Freeway Becomes a "Memorial Highway" Honoring a Sheriff's Dept. Hero

Father unveils sign honoring slain Sheriff's Deputy Shane York

 

August 14, 2016

It was Thursday, August 14, 1997, when two gang members on a crime spree took the life of Mr. York's son, Deputy Shayne Daniel York. Shayne and his fiancée, also a deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, were off duty that evening and went to visit a relative at a Buena Park hair salon. The couple met while both were assigned to the Pitchess Detention Center-East Facility in Castaic, and were planning to marry soon.

On a clear, sunny day, fitfully paired with an event honoring an equally luminous and cheery soul, Mr. Dan York unveiled a sign designed in his son's honor.

It was Thursday, August 14, 1997, when two gang members on a crime spree took the life of Mr. York's son, Deputy Shayne Daniel York. Shayne and his fiancée, also a deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, were off duty that evening and went to visit a relative at a Buena Park hair salon. The couple met while both were assigned to the Pitchess Detention Center-East Facility in Castaic, and were planning to marry soon.

The two armed suspects entered the salon to rob it and ordered everyone in the salon to lie on the floor. Even in the face of danger, Shayne was the premier peacemaker who asked for reason and calm, but received merciless violence instead. As the suspects rifled through their victims' pockets, they found Shayne's badge and shot him in the back of the head, simply because he was a deputy.

With careful investigation, keen eyes, cooperation, and the exemplary professional standards of the Buena Park and Fullerton Police Departments, the suspects were caught and brought to justice.

Deputy Shayne York fought for his life for two days following the shooting, and succumbed to his fatal injury on Saturday, August 16, 1997. He was just 26 years old.

On the morning of Wednesday, August 10, 2015, almost 19 years to that fateful day, Sheriff Jim McDonnell and Mr. York unveiled the "Deputy Shayne Daniel York Los Angeles County Sheriff Memorial Highway" sign, dedicating the stretch of Interstate Highway 5, between Newhall Ranch Road and Hasley Canyon Road in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County – Castaic, to Shayne's honor.

The event took place in the Shayne Daniel York Memorial Park, located in front of the Pitchess Detention Center-East Facility, where Shayne and Mr. York, who was also a deputy sheriff - now retired, both worked.

The unveiled sign was symbolic of two larger, official signs installed on the northbound and southbound sides of the highway. Mr. York requested this portion of highway to be dedicated to his son because this was the route Shayne drove to work, the area he knew and the surroundings he saw on a daily basis.

Mr. York, who patiently waited as legislation for the highway signs was processed, while funding was obtained, and as the signs were created and installed, attended the event with his wife, Mary; Shayne's brother, Brandon; and many family members. He spoke kindly at the event, and expressed his deep appreciation for those who honored his son with heartfelt words and offered his thanks to those who participated in obtaining the signs. He was absolutely beaming with happiness this morning as he saw the realization of his wish and was undoubtedly proud to have his family there to share the day.

"I didn't have the privilege of meeting Shayne," said Sheriff McDonnell, "but from learning of his bravery during the incident, hearing his story and meeting his family, I can see what a great person he was. An all-American boy who grew up in a loving family, played sports and was liked by everyone."

"He was a stand-up young man with integrity and honor, who followed in his father's footsteps to be an agent for what is good and right," he said.

California Assembly Member Scott Wilk, 38th Assembly District, authored and introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution 16 (ACR 16) on January 29, 2015. The resolution was passed and ultimately made the dedication of the indicated stretch of highway possible.

The event took place in the Shayne Daniel York Memorial Park, located in front of the Pitchess Detention Center-East Facility, where Shayne and Mr. York, who was also a deputy sheriff - now retired, both worked.

The dedication event came almost one year after ACR passed on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Representing Assemblymember Scott Wilk, 38th Assembly District, Press Secretary Wyatt Woodson attended and presented Mr. York with a certificate proclaiming the dedicated stretch of highway officially referred to as:

Deputy Shayne Daniel York

Los Angeles County Sheriff

Memorial Highway

Funding from the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS), the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association (PPOA), the Peace Officers Professional Association Federal Credit Union (POPAFCU), and the Sheriff's Relief Association (SRA) allowed for the purchase of the signs and made the dedication event possible.

 

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