VACAVILLE -- Alex Youngstrom will miss Sundays when his father, a passionate St. Louis Rams fan, would gyrate around the living room doing a wacky touchdown dance when his team scored.
The 17-year-old will miss the clandestine tackles his father would lay on him in their Cordelia house, leading to epic wrestling matches. He will miss bragging to his friends about his father who worked as a California Highway Patrol officer.
He will miss his dad.
"He really taught me a lot about being a man," the eldest son of slain CHP officer Kenyon Youngstrom said Thursday during a two-hour service attended by thousands of law enforcement officers, friends, family and community members. An overflow crowd filled the sprawling Vacaville church -- capacity 2,500 -- and included Gov. Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris and officers from as far away as New York, Chicago and Alaska.
Youngstrom, 37, was remembered for his goofy smile, eclectic musical taste, addiction to bandaids, duct tape, fantasy football and fast food, and a grin that could disarm the crustiest of colleagues. The father of four was remembered as a God-fearing Christian who served his church and spread the Gospel to family and friends. He was remembered as a hero, who gave his life for others.
Youngstrom was shot Sept. 4 during a traffic stop and died the following evening. The suspect Christopher Lacy, a 36-year-old software engineer, was shot to death by Youngstrom's
"I often have thoughts that creep into my mind of 'Why?' or 'What if?' or 'I could have,'" Carlton told the audience. "But then I remind myself that everything does happen for a reason, that this was all in God's plan, and that his plans are perfect every time."
His voice broke as he read scripture and bid Youngstrom farewell, staring down at his partner's flag-draped casket.
"Ken, I know you can hear me. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for always being there for me," he said. "And I look forward to seeing you again, brother."
He received a standing ovation.
After killing the suspect, Carlton rendered aid to his partner along the side of Interstate 680 in Alamo, and an army of first responders -- some with badges, some not -- valiantly tried to save Youngstrom's life, said CHP Chief Theresa Becher, commander of the Golden Gate division.
An off-duty Oakland firefighter-paramedic driving by stopped to assist, while another first responder blocked the lane from traffic. A Walnut Creek police officer also helped treat Youngstrom, while his colleague escorted an intensive care doctor, who happened to be driving on the other side of the freeway, across all
While the efforts did not save Youngstrom, they enabled the fallen officer's organs to be donated, saving four people's lives, Becher said.
"I've never known how my heart could be so broken and so full at the same time," she said.
CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow reminded those attending the service that protecting the public as Youngstrom did can come with a cost.
"Sometimes that cost is high," he said. "Sometimes it is devastating."
The state's top patrolman told Youngstrom's four children that: "It takes a special person to wear the CHP badge. Your dad was one of the best."
He added, to Youngstrom's wife, Karen: "We are thankful that Kenyon was surrounded by his family and their love during his final moments."
Storm Youngstrom said she plans to honor her uncle's memory by attending the same CHP Academy that he graduated from in 2006.
"To me, he wasn't only my uncle," she said, fighting back tears. "He was a hero, and he was like a father to me."
Youngstrom, a seven-year veteran of the force who was assigned to the CHP's Contra Costa office in Martinez, is survived by his wife, his two sons, Alex and Andrew, and two daughters, Madison and Kennedy, his parents, Gaylord and Jill Youngstrom, of Riverside, four brothers and a sister.
As the service concluded, Youngstrom's casket was carried through The Gauntlet, a sea of law enforcement officers saluting and creating a path to a hearse that would bring the officer to his private interment.
A radio call concluded the service -- Code 10-10, end of watch.
Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni. Staff writers Daniel M. Jimenez and Erin Ivie contributed to this report.