ELK GROVE, Calif. (KTXL) — It’s been three days since Officer Tyler Lenehan’s tragic death, and people who knew him are taking the time to reach out to his loved ones and put together memorial events.
One of those people is Pastor Phil Layton, who took a moment during Sunday’s service to honor his friend.
“This morning, as many of you know, our hearts are heavy. If you have not yet heard the news, Ty Lenehan, one of the faithful members of our church for the last couple of years, sadly and suddenly died this Friday, to be with his Lord,” Layton said during service.
Layton said Officer Lenehan was a man who was always there for his community and that he was very involved at the Gold Country Baptist Church. He was a greeter at the front doors on Sundays and participated in weekly men’s groups.
“He just had a great big smile. He had a great big heart,” Layton said. “He loved to serve other people. And that’s what he … That’s what we knew of him, especially the last two years here at the church.”
Only three days ago, traffic was stopped on Highway 99 by the 12th Avenue exit after a suspected drunken driver traveled into oncoming traffic.
Lenehan was hit head-on while driving his motorcycle and later died at UC Davis Medical Center. The crash happened as Lenehan was on his way to work at the Elk Grove Police Department. On Sunday, when Lenehan would normally be at church, the community put together a special memorial and took a moment to remember him.
Layton said Lenehan was on the safety and security team for the church, was a greeter on Sunday mornings at the front door, and was involved with the outreach team.
Layton even shared a special memory of a realization he had when Lenehan joined the church.
“Ty’s grandma actually was at our church 20-some years ago and was praying for him. You know, praying for him and his life to get right with the Lord,” Layton recounted. “And then he, two years ago, he starts coming here, and I didn’t even make the connection between the last name. But when we were going to his mother’s service, I finally realized Ty Lenehan that’s the one that she’d been praying about, and so the gals actually at our church have it written down. They were praying for Ty Lenehan, and then now he comes to be a member of that same church. And so that’s a, that’s a sweet memory right there and just the power of prayer.”
Layton said the church will continue to support his family.
The Gold Country Baptist Church is just one of many groups showing love for Lenehan and his family.
FOX40 spoke to Jim Wilson, the founder and president of the 1033 Foundation. The mission of the foundation focuses on partnering with organizations and preparing them for these situations. But it also specializes in being there for the families of first responders who have lost a relative.
He said the support right now is important.
“When you lose a family member, whatever the circumstances, it’s like losing a biological family member. It’s devastating, and it ripples through not only the officers and the administrative staff, but also the families. Because there’s always that aftermath like everything, a memorial, the funeral services, and it’s hard — It’s hard,” Wilson said.
A procession is planned for Lenehan on Tuesday morning.