When I arrived at the home of Jesus Calderon, I was feeling regret that I had not known the man. No stories, no information can ever give a person the real sense of a tragedy as that unexplainable thing that reaches into the heart. By the end of my communion with Jesus' family, I felt strongly that I not only knew the man, that he had been my friend, but that it was right for me to grieve his loss. Without reserve, Jesus' family drew me and numerous others into their world with the message of how immense was their love and how unbridled was their grief. It was a true lesson of brotherhood I will not forget.
Memorial placed where Jesus fellJesus Calderon, "Tio Chu" to his family and closest friends, was once the primary breadwinner and familial center of all around him but several years ago a serious accident left Jesus with a head injury resulting in greatly diminished motor skills and mental disabilities. He was aware enough of what had happened to him that he fell into a state of chronic and severe depression. Despite this, he was just as loved, honored and respected by his family and friends as he ever was.
Having myself battled clinical depression all of my adult life and having, numerous times in my past, reached out to authorities to save me from myself, I could not stop thinking that it was likely my privilege alone that may have saved me more than once from the same fate as that of Jesus. I was profoundly aware of the injustice that led to the death of Jesus and the suffering his loss is causing. More than once, I had the thought, because I have always been perceived by responding officers as "one of them", my life and safety was held in much higher regard than the life and safety of Jesus; An "us vs. them" perspective all too common in law enforcement.
Aerial View (click picture to enlarge)
Deputy Kevin StabinsIt is the opinion of this author and the family of Jesus Calderon that, given the known history of Jesus peaceful interactions with emergency services, and, given the proximate distance between Jesus and Deputy Stabins, that non-lethal measures could certainly have been used to diffuse the situation. It is the opinion of this author that it was Deputy Stabins who needlessly escalated the situation and, without cause, took the life of Jesus Calderon. It is the well considered opinion of this author and friend to Jesus' family that the misleading and untruthful statements by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office clearly show that this life so unjustly taken away was and is of no value to them and that the Sheriff's Department has no consideration for the devastation their deputy left in the wake of his callous and deadly actions.
In uniform with a taser holstered on his left hip.
In uniform with a taser holstered on his left hip.
Please, if this death of an innocent loving and loved man has touched you, please consider a donation, large or small, HERE to help give Jesus the dignified funeral and burial he deserves.
I will end with a few statements from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and statements from family and eye witnesses to the killing of Jesus.
Sheriff's Dept. statement: "The deputy had no time. It happened so fast when the deputy first approached the subject, he came in close proximity, he didn't see the knife until the subject jumped up and aggressively began displaying the knife."
Eyewitness testimony: When Deputy Stabins exited his patrol car, Jesus was sitting in a chair about 32' away from him. Jesus stood from the chair and began to walk slowly toward Stabins. Because of his physical disabilities, Jesus was incapable of anything more than a slow shuffle. The knife was clearly visible in Jesus' hand during the whole encounter. Deputy Stabins shot Jesus 3 times in the chest from a distance of about 14', after Jesus had dropped the knife. Witness testimony is that the knife was very small and could not have presented any threat.
Sheriff's Dept. statement: "When Calderon refused to drop the knife, Sheriff Chad Chronister says the deputy was forced to shoot."
Eyewitness testimony: Jesus did not speak or understand English. A family member at the scene was frantically translating for Jesus the commands of Deputy Stabins. When Jesus understood that he was being ordered to drop the knife, he did so BEFORE Deputy Stabins shot him. Jesus was about 14' from Deputy Stabins when he dropped the knife and was shot by Stabins, causing his death.
Sheriff's Dept. statement: When the deputy first approached the subject and came in close proximity, he didn’t see the knife until the subject jumped up and aggressively began displaying the knife, advancing toward the deputy. The Sheriff's Office said deputies have been called to the house 7 times since September of 2018. All calls involved suicide attempts involving a knife.
Eyewitness testimony: On this 8th call, the family informed the 911 dispatcher that Jesus had a knife. The responding deputies knew before they arrived that Jesus was in possession of a knife. As a result of the brain injuries sustained by Jesus, and the resulting physical disabilities, it was impossible for him to have "jumped up" and he never showed any aggressiveness.
Lastly and needing no counter comment.
Sheriff's Dept. statement: "He's visibly emotional, he's upset," Chronister said of the deputy. "I think visibly bothered by the fact that he had to deploy deadly force."...Sheriff Chronister said in his news conference this is the eighth suicidal subject call the sheriff's office has received from the home since 2018. "I think it says we need to make treatment available to everyone who needs it," Chronister said.
This I can't contradict. Treatment for severe depression is far more expected and hoped for than an execution.