By CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan

Lt. Derrick “Bo” Taylor was murdered by unspeakable evil in the Las Vegas shooting. This is a profound loss to his family, co-workers and all of us at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Lt. Derrick “Bo” Taylor, center, takes a break from firefighting exercises in September at Burney, near Redding, in Northern California. Lt. Taylor was killed Oct. 1 during the shooting in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy Taylor’s Facebook memorial page.

On Saturday morning, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s honor guard ceremonially draped Bo’s casket with a U.S. flag, and a procession of law enforcement drove him and his sons to the Las Vegas airport for the short flight to California. At Burbank Airport, a CDCR contingent was waiting for Bo and his family’s flight to arrive.  They included staff from the Office of Correctional Safety, Sierra Conservation Center, California Men’s Colony (CMC), Conservation Camps, CAL FIRE, the Los Angeles City Fire Department, and others. The honor guards from California State Prison-Los Angeles County and CMC stood at attention, as did all who came to the airport to pay their respects to one of their own. They saluted Bo as he was gently moved from the airplane to the hearse.

Sgt. Todd Wienke.

An emotional Sgt. Todd Wienke, from California City Correctional Facility, stood on the tarmac with watery eyes. Todd was at the fateful concert in Las Vegas and was shot shielding his girlfriend. After getting her to safety, Todd went back into harm’s way to assist other victims and was shot again. By the grace of God, Todd is recovering from his injuries and asked to be present for Lt. Taylor’s journey home.

Todd whispered a message to Bo’s sons and they engaged in a warm embrace. A bond was formed by those private words that defied the evil that shocked our nation, and brought two families together that fall day for Bo’s journey home.

Todd is a hero who represented our Department with distinction.

California Highway Patrol “black and whites” with lights flashing, led a procession of CDCR vehicles, including fire trucks from Bo’s Ventura fire camp, to Grover Beach.

Staff from local law enforcement and fire agencies along the route parked on highway overpasses and saluted Bo and his CDCR family. The procession, over 50 vehicles strong, wound its way to the mortuary where Bo will remain until he is laid to rest on Friday.

Citizens lined the road entering the mortuary to pay their respects. As the procession drove into the mortuary, it was greeted by hundreds of CDCR staff and Bo’s family and friends. The honor guards stood at attention once again as the casket was removed from the vehicle and slowly carried through the double single-file greeting line. Bo’s two sons followed the casket and witnessed the outpouring of love displayed by our Department. Bo was placed in a beautiful room full of flowers, and staff from SCC and the camps will stand guard 24/7 until he is laid to rest.

I thought the entire Department would like to know all these details of Bo’s journey home. CDCR made me very proud on Saturday. Law enforcement from CHP, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, along with the Office of Emergency Services, made the procession a heartwarming display of respect to Lt. Taylor and CDCR. I know Bo’s sons and co-workers will never forget this journey.

Bo’s funeral service will be held on Friday, Oct. 13, at 1 p.m. at New Life Community Church, 900 James Way, Pismo Beach, CA 93349.

An American flag hangs from an overpass along the route escorting Lt. Taylor’s body. Photo by John Castanedo, Senior Special Agent, SSU.