To honor a deputy killed almost 22 years ago in the line of duty as he responded to an active shooter in Stevenson Ranch, a Santa Clarita Valley lawmaker is seeking to create Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Hagop “Jake” Kuredjian Memorial Highway.
Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, recently introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution 92 to “designate the portion of Interstate 5 between the Pico-Lyons Overcrossing and the McBean Parkway Overcrossing in the city of Santa Clarita,” according to the text of the legislation.
“Californians rely on peace officers to uphold the law and to protect all citizens. They serve our communities as peacemakers in an attempt to serve justice.” Schiavo said in a statement sent via text message from Furkan Yalcin, her director of communications, regarding why she introduced the resolution.
“Deputy Hagop ‘Jake’ Kuredijian was one of those peacemakers and vowed to serve our community every time he put on the badge,” she added. “His time was cut short but his legacy will live on through the memorial established by ACR 92 between the Pico-Lyons and McBean Parkway Overcrossing on Interstate 5, a small piece of the district he vowed to protect.”
The 40-year-old motorcycle deputy with Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station heard the call over the radio requesting backup as the U.S. Marshals Service was serving a search warrant around 9 a.m. Aug. 31 at a home on Brooks Circle, near Thackery Lane, according to previous reports.
The 17-year veteran of the force was shot and killed by James Beck, a former Arcadia Police Department officer who was fired for not passing his probationary period and was wanted for impersonating an officer. Beck was also believed to be stockpiling guns in his home.
The suspect died after a shootout with officers, and his body was found in his home after he set it on fire.
The story was covered in newspapers across the country at the time. In the years since, station officials have carried out a vigil each year on the anniversary of Kuredjian’s death by holding a 24-hour watch at his memorial, near the intersection of Poe and Stevenson Ranch parkways.
City officials also honored Kuredjian with Deputy Jake Drive in Newhall.
Kuredjian’s brother, Cmdr. Garo Kuredjian of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, said the family was very honored by the way the community has worked to keep his brother’s memory alive and very excited about the opportunity to honor his legacy.
He thanked Schiavo, as well as Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department for being very supportive of the effort to honor his brother.
“Jake loved the Santa Clarita Valley, he both lived and he worked there,” Garo Kuredjian said. “He loved that community, and the community has really in turn has always been very gracious to our family in keeping his memory alive, and we’re very grateful for that.”
In addition to serving as a deputy in Santa Clarita, according to the city of Malibu’s website, “Kuredjian often worked as an Armenian interpreter for the Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI,” and he earned the Gold Meritorious Conduct Medal in 1989 for rescuing a woman from a cliff while stationed in Malibu.
He has a citizenship award named in his honor there, as well as an L.A. County park dedicated in his honor in 2004 at 25265 Pico Canyon Road in Stevenson Ranch.
Schiavo’s resolution requests the state’s Department of Transportation “determine the cost of appropriate signs, consistent with the signing requirements for the state highway system, showing this special designation and, upon receiving donations from nonstate sources sufficient to cover the cost, to erect those signs.”
On June 8, the legislation was referred to the Transportation Committee.