An estimated 200 law enforcement vehicles with headlights shining in the rain formed a procession along Highway 299 from Burney to Fall River Mills for the funeral services of Shasta County Deputy Kenn Perrigo who was shot to death on Oct. 21, 1991.
Earlier that morning President George Bush telephoned Perrigo’s wife Debra to express his condolences.
The intermountain area, Including those in the Mexican community, breathed a sigh of relief as word spread that the two men suspected of killing Deputy Perrigo had been captured. The suspects were apprehended without incident bringing a close to a five-day manhunt, deemed the largest and longest in Shasta County’s history.
The suspects, Tomas Cruz and Carlos Estrada, were arrested by Deputy Perrigo for being intoxicated in public. They allegedly shot him in the back of the head and neck several times with his own 9 mm Smith and Wesson as he transported them to a Redding jail.
The two Mexican farm laborers took off on foot from the patrol car that crashed a short distance from the seven-mile dirt road into Goose Valley.
Authorities have not indicated who did the shooting and who was able to reach under the patrol car’s dividing metal cage to take Perrigo’s pack containing his gun from the front seat.
Perrigo first worked for the department in Redding as a civilian cook. Lt. Herb Davidson said he was hired by the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department in 1983 and worked in the jail until he was assigned to patrol in Burney in 1986. He was a member of the department’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.
“He was a dedicated, conscientious employee, who just wanted to serve his community,” said fellow Burney Deputy Jacque Booker. “He loved living here. What can I say. I worked with him day in and day out. He just wanted to do a good Job.”
Perrigo, a deputy for nine years, is the fifth Shasta County Sheriff’s deputy to be killed in the line of duty and the second to lose his life in the past 10 years, according to department records.
He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in Fall River Mills and Shasta County Peace Officers Association, and was Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 216 in Fall River Mills. He was a U.S. Coast Guard veteran.
In addition to his wife, Perrigo is survived by his daughters Kady, 11, and Kala, 7, and two-year-old son Jared; parents Kenneth (a retired CHP officer) and Eileen of Redding; brother Mark of Waldport, Ore.; and sister Lisa Knox of Red Bluff.