Darnell Calhoun: Family of slain Riverside County deputy reopens beloved restaurant

Less than three weeks after Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy Darnell Calhoun was killed while responding to a domestic violence call near Lake Elsinore, the beloved Calhoun family restaurant reopened. 

Calhoun's Family Texas Barbecue is well-loved by the local community; but since Deputy Calhoun’s tragic death on the job January 13 — the restaurant has been a gathering spot for community support and healing with flowers, cards and balloons placed around the area.  

The restaurant had remained closed as the Calhoun family mourned and held a funeral for their heroic son.

RELATED: Darnell Calhoun: Slain Riverside County deputy laid to rest

But on Feb. 1, Calhoun’s mother Renee, dad Lonnie, and their surviving children reopened the restaurant, which is located in a Murrieta strip mall. 

"He was the best you could ever imagine, I love him so dearly, but I have to know he didn't die in vain. I was proud of him and who he became. He even worked here at the restaurant for eight years before he went into law enforcement. He was the one in the front, always taking the orders, he had the personality," his father emotionally stated. 

Inside the restaurant is a plaque dedicated to their late son, with the date of his passing, and the initials EOW "End of Watch." 

The death of Deputy Calhoun has rocked this community. He was only 30-years-old, with a wife, two little boys, and a third baby due this spring.

Despite their extraordinary loss, the Christian family spoke with joy about reopening their restaurant. They spoke with gratitude for the community's support and they spoke with strength about their faith in God. 

"They have just come out so much, it has really blessed us to feel loved and supported by so many people all over. I really feel like we are part of the Inland Empire, not just Murrieta, because they have come out from all over," Renee said. 

Calhoun’s opened at 11 a.m. and family said they would remain open until the food was gone.

Deputy Calhoun joined the Riverside County Sheriff's Department in February 2022. His death comes less than two weeks after the line of duty death of Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy Isaiah Cordero who was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop in Jurupa Valley.