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Rocklin's I-80 stretch named for slain Auburn CHP officer Ray Carpenter

Ceremony pays tribute to patrolman killed in line of duty Feb. 17, 1970
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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California Highway Patrol Officer Raymond Carpenter

 

Feb. 17, 1970, is a day that the family and friends of Raymond Carpenter will never forget.

Wednesday was a day they will always remember.

Carpenter, a 40-year-old California Highway Patrol officer was gunned down Feb. 17, 1970, by a 20-year-old California Youth Authority parolee during a stop on Interstate 80 at Rocklin.

In a ceremony Wednesday at the Rocklin Police headquarters, signs that will go up on I-80 at Rocklin were unveiled in front of about 20 family members and dozens of friends and supporters.

The signs – approved by the state Legislature – proclaim a stretch of I-80 from Rocklin Road to Highway 65 as “California Highway Patrol Officer Raymond Carpenter Memorial Interchange.”

In a touching tribute to a fallen Highway Patrol officer, speaker after speaker lauded his service and paid homage to the ultimate sacrifice Carpenter made that day 43 years ago this coming Sunday.

California Association of Highway Patrolmen provided financial support to pay for the sign. President Doug Villars spoke, saying that while the event has its veil of sadness, and nothing can compensate a family and community for the tragic loss it suffered, it can also be seen as a time of celebration.

“Officer Ray Carpenter will be memorialized forever,” Villars said. “With this dedication, he will never be forgotten and will always be remembered.”

Since the 1920s, 223 Highway Patrol officers have been killed in the line of duty. A count shows that less than 30 have had freeway stretches named after them.

“What a great symbolism of your dad’s entire life and a great family that represents him today,” state Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Rocklin, said.

Carpenter, a Korean War veteran who had grown up in Auburn, died of a bullet wound after stopping a parolee living in Foresthill who was driving a car stolen from his father. Carpenter’s killer would drive to Folsom and fatally turn his gun on himself as police approached the vehicle.

The state’s proclamation accompanying the highway naming decision mentioned how Carpenter would be apt to help out people down on their luck with a burger or a place to sleep. That side of the officer was picked up by Highway Patrol Deputy Commissioner Mona Prieto in her remarks.

Prieto described Carpenter as a man “with a big heart who reached out to the less fortunate.”

“He exemplified public service,” Prieto said.

Only 5 when her father was taken from her, Mamie Carpenter of Auburn voiced her family’s appreciation for the honor unveiled Wednesday.

“It’s truly a loving gesture on all your parts to honor him and I hope when people pass by on the road that they realize the value of each and every one of you and what you do for us,” Carpenter said.