MARTINEZ -- The family of the California Highway Patrol officer killed during a traffic stop called him "our hero" Thursday while revealing that his a final act of public service in donating his organs and body tissue could save as many as eight people and help 50 more.
The news came Thursday morning as a memorial was being planned, donation accounts were set up for CHP Officer Kenyon Youngstrom's widow and four children, and investigators updated details about the shooting Tuesday on Interstate 680 near Alamo.
"Our grief is overwhelming. But in his special way, Kenyon carries on in helping others," the family said in a statement released through the Oakland-based nonprofit California Transplant Donor Network. "This was our Kenyon, he's our hero and, in the midst of our grief, we are comforted to know he continues to help others."
About 40 percent of California licensed drivers are registered organ donors and about 10,000 Northern California residents need an organ to save their lives, network spokesman Anthony Borders said.
"The officer's life was about giving to people and caring for the public and with his wish to be an organ donor he's continuing that legacy," he said.
Meanwhile, accounts have been set up at Wells Fargo Bank and Mechanics Bank for donations to help the Youngstrom family.
The Kenyon Marc Youngstrom Children's Benefit Memorial Fund has been set up at Wells Fargo and can be made at any branch.
Mechanics Bank had already taken in more than 100 donations totaling more than $25,000 as of Thursday afternoon, according to Steve Buster, president and chief executive officer.
"It's a great start and we're hoping much more (will come in) for this family," said Buster, who also serves as a captain for the Alameda County Sheriff's Air Squadron. "This is a cause that's very near and dear to my heart, and we're very anxious to support this campaign."
The 11-99 Foundation took well over 100 calls as well, according to Dave Helsel, a retired CHP assistant chief who serves as the foundation's benefits coordinator.
"It's been a tremendous outpouring among the community," he said, but noted that staff were still shaken by Youngstrom's death. "People in the office are very upset ... they're sitting there with tears in their eyes, fielding these phone calls."
In honor of Youngstrom on Thursday, flags were flown at half-staff at the Martinez CHP station and across California as authorities continued to investigate Tuesday's shooting.
A seven-year CHP veteran, Youngstrom died less than 36 hours after Christopher Boone Lacy, 36, shot him in the head during a traffic stop on the southbound shoulder of I-680 near Alamo.
Youngstrom, 37, had pulled to the side of the road to investigate a dead deer there shortly before 8:30 a.m. when his partner, who was in another car, pulled Lacy over, investigators said.
During the stop, Lacy pulled his Jeep up behind Youngstrom's stopped patrol car and the other officer pulled up behind Lacy.
Youngstrom, who was already out of his own car, guided Lacy's car to a stop and walked up to the Jeep's driver's side window to talk to Lacy, sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said. The two exchanged words for just a few seconds -- not 30-45 seconds, as authorities said Wednesday -- before Lacy fired a semi-automatic handgun at Youngstrom, hitting him in the head, Lee said.
Youngstrom's partner, whom officials have not named, then approached Lacy's Jeep from behind on the passenger side and fired at Lacy, killing him, Lee said.
The incident, from the time Lacy was pulled over to the time he was shot by the second officer, took less than a minute, and closer to 30 seconds, Lee said.
No other details about the investigation were expected to be released Thursday, Lee said.
Throughout the morning and early afternoon Thursday, CHP organizers and Youngstrom's family met to sort out details of a public memorial service for Youngstrom, CHP Sgt. Diana McDermott said.
A bell-ringing ceremony in his honor was planned for 5 p.m. at the CHP academy in West Sacramento, to be led by CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow, his office announced.
A Facebook page calling for that stretch of I-680 to be named after Youngstrom had gained the support of more than 3,800 users by 1:45 p.m.
Besides donations being made through the two bank accounts, the One Hundred Club of Contra Costa County will donate $15,000 to Youngstrom's widow, volunteer Maggie Lucca said.
"Out of the blue, your dad is gone and your husband is gone," she said. "That is very traumatic."
The nonprofit, which has clubs throughout the nation, supports the families of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty. To find out more about the club or donate, call 925-837-0199 or visit www.100clubcontracostacounty.org.
"While the chose the profession, they are still out there protecting us, and when, God forbid, something happens to them, we need to step up and help the surviving members," Lucca said.