Five years ago today, an AWOL Marine armed with a high-powered assault rifle murdered Ceres police Sgt. Howard Stevenson and delivered career-ending injuries to officer Sam Ryno.
That shooting — the first to claim the life of an on-duty police officer in Ceres history — changed life in the city. It prompted a crackdown on gangs because of shooter Andres Raya's alleged affiliation with the Norteños and it led the Ceres Police Department to adopt new strategies when confronted by increasingly lethal threats.
It also contributed to voters passing a sales tax increase to bolster their public safety departments.
Stevenson's memory lives on in a riverside memorial named after him. In his home and at the Police Department, friends and family think about him daily.
Stevenson's widow, Kathy, and his children spoke with The Bee this week to honor his memory and describe their lives without him. We share their stories in Sunday's Bee.