Murrieta, CA – Riverside County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) Deputy Terrell Young died on Thursday morning after contracting COVID-19.
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said that the 15-year veteran-of-the-force likely contracted the novel coronavirus from an inmate at the county jail facility, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Deputy Young escorted the sick inmate to the Riverside University Health System during the week of March 16, and called in sick with a fever on March 22.
On March 23, he was one of 10 employees who ended up calling in sick, the Los Angeles Times reported.
That same day, the inmate who Deputy Young had taken to the medical center a week earlier also fell ill, and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19, Sheriff Bianco said.
Twenty-three inmates and at least four deputies have tested positive for the coronavirus thus far.
Deputy Young succumbed to the virus in Murrieta on Thursday morning, the Temecula Patch reported.
“It is with a heavy heart and much sadness that I must announce the passing of one of our RSO family members,” Sheriff Bianco said in a statement later in the day. “Deputy Terrell Young passed away this morning after a week-long battle with COVID-19. He was the first in our department to test positive for this virus.”
After joining the RCSD on Dec. 8, 2005, Deputy Young spent time serving at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility, Perris Station, Court Services, and the Southwest Station, according to the Temecula Patch.
He was assigned to the Cois Byrd Detention Center at the time of his death.
“Deputy Young proudly served Riverside County for 15 years,” Sheriff Bianco said. “Our prayers go out to his family and friends as we suffer through this loss.”
Deputy Young leaves behind his wife of 31 years, Marie, as well as his four children, the Los Angeles Times reported.
His family has also gotten sick, but they are recovering at home in self-isolation, Sheriff Bianco said.
A fundraising page established to help Deputy Young’s family in the wake of their loss has raised over $13,600.
“He was a fantastic role model for his kids, especially for his daughter,” the sheriff told the Los Angeles Times. “Employees knew they could count on him for good advice. Terrell was…very well-liked by his peers and supervisors, and always willing to lend a hand. He was always smiling…he will be deeply missed.”
Sheriff Bianco said that the loss of Deputy Young has been even more difficult because his loved ones cannot come together to honor him and support one another in person due to the pandemic, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“There are a lot of different emotions in the department. There’s a lot of uncertainty, there’s a lot of anxiety, there’s a lot of anger, there’s a lot of fear, and combine that with losing one of your friends,” the sheriff explained. “If [citizens] really want to honor his death, stay home.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Terrell Young, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.