|Birth: ||Jan. 22, 1959|
|Death: ||May 21, 1997|
Deputy Randal E. Jennings, who was slain in a domestic violence altercation May 21, was laid to rest in the Oroville Cemetry to the wail of bagpipes tolling "Going Home" while a V-shaped flight of helicopters in missing pilot formation whirled past.
Jennings, 38, was fatally shot in a gunfight in which Pao Xiong, 34, of Oroville was also killed.
The Deputy was chasing Xiong across a field when the latter reportedly shot at him and he returned fire. Butte County Sheriff Mick Grey said officers may never know who fired first. But since all five of Xiong's shots hit the deputy's body and only one of the deputy's 10 shots hit Xiong, the shefiff surmised that Xiong fired first. Two bullets struck Jennings in the neck, just above his bulletproof vest. Another two were lodged in the vest and the fifth went through the deputy's right wrist, piercing his watch, Sheriff Grey reported.
Jennings, who opened fire with a 9mm handgun, shot Xiong in the torso. Before he collapsed, the deputy called dispatchers to let them know he had been wounded.
"Deputy Jennings camly put out a call on his radio that he'd been shot and needed an ambulance," Sheriff Gray said. "Those where his last words."
He died about two hours later at Enloe Hospital in Chico.
Jennings was the first Butte County deputy sheriff to die in the line-of-duty.
"Randy is the kind of guy everyone liked," Sheriff Grey said. "We're all taking it rough." The deputy's file is crammed with letters of thanks from the community, and fellow officers said he was beloved.
Hundreds of officers arriving in squad cars, motorcycles, and unmarked vehicles began congregating early on May 30 at the Church of the Nazarene where the emotional and dignigied services for Jennings was held.
Shoulder patches and wehicle emblems identified departments from dozens of jurisdictions around the state and reportedly from as far as Los Angeles and Washoe County in Nevada.
Earlier in the week, Thai Vang, president of the Laotian Vets in Northern California, issued a statement expressing the Oroville Hmong community's sorrow and deep hurt over Jennings' death.
Jennings was awarded the department's highest award, the Medal of Valor. Jennings' friend and supervisor, Sgt. Keith Knotek, posthumously nominated him for the award which was presented to Jennings' widow, Terry, at the funeral by Sheriff Grey.
He had also been named the Officer of the Year by the Oroville Rotary Club in 1996. Knotck, who was with Jennings in the foot pursuit of the suspect, stated that he didn't see a weapon. After Xiong shot Jennings, he was able to return fire, killing him. Knotek was unable to return fire because Jennings was directly in front of him, between him and the suspect. He believes that Jennings saved his life. Knotek stated "Randy is and always will be my hero."
Jennings was a nine year veteran of the Butte County Sheriff's Department. His assignments included Corrections, Courts, Civil, Patrol, Special Enforcement Unit, and the Special Incident Response Team. He was a member of the department's Special Weapons and Tactics unit and a skilled gunman.
Jennings is survived by his wife, Terry, his teenage stepson, Danny, His mother, Carleen, and brother, Allen, who is a correctional officer with the Butte County Sheriff's Department. Mrs. Jennings, an Oroville police officer, was off duty the night of her husband's death. She had stayed home to celebrate her birthday.
Old Oroville Cemetery
Created by: Flintstone
Record added: Jul 02, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14802747
it's been 19 years (yesterday) since that tragic day. It's still hard to believe you were taken so senselessly. I learned a lot working with you when you were my FTO in the jail. I still think of you often & remember the good times. God bless you.|
T. C. C.O. # 67
Added: May. 22, 2016
Added: Oct. 15, 2012
Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God. Rest in Peace, Deputy.|
Added: Feb. 26, 2010
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