The phone call came a little after midnight on Aug. 30.
“I can’t even explain how I felt,” Donna Harvey said. “It was just … It was a mom’s worst nightmare.”
The voice on the phone — Harvey can’t remember who the man said he was — gave her news she had feared since her son graduated from the police academy in 2014.
Chris Caron had been shot.
“I think I always tried to tell myself, ‘Well, Clovis is a little town. Nothing like that is going to happen.’ All along, I always knew there was a chance … but it just was not something you think can happen to your son. It was a horrible feeling.”
Caron, 23, was patrolling the 900 block of Clovis’ Wallace Street about 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 29 when he encountered a man on a bicycle.
Caron pulled him over for a minor traffic offense, police said, and soon learned that Anthony Baca, 34, had an outstanding felony warrant for failing to appear in court.
When Caron attempted to arrest Baca, he fled. During the pursuit, police said, Caron deployed his taser, and Baca pulled a pistol.
“Caron stated he saw Baca raise his right arm, heard a bang and saw a muzzle flash before feeling a burning sensation in his left thigh,” a police press release said.
Harvey, who lives in Carlsbad, said she learned in that initial late-night phone call that her son was “laughing and joking” and in good spirits while he was being treated at the hospital. It made her feel better “just to know it wasn’t life threatening,” she said. The bullet only grazed Caron and he was released from the hospital by morning.
But Harvey quickly realized the incident would be life changing.
“He told his brother he thought he was going to die,” Harvey said. “He said he saw his life flash before his eyes.”
He told his mother he was fine.
She wasn’t so sure at first, but she’s feeling better about it all now.
Caron went back to work Monday night.
“He went through a little counseling, and he did great through that,” Harvey said. “He’s feeling strong. All the support everyone showed him, he was so touched by it. I think it’s just made him stronger.
“He said, ‘Mom, I know more than ever this is what I want to do.’ Even though it scared him, he is ready to get back out there. That tells me he is cut out to do this.”
Harvey said her son had talked about being a police officer or joining the military since he was 12 or 13 years old.
“Chris was always the type of kid who would envision something and then go for it,” she said.
“I remember he was always interested in movies with police officers. He and his brother used to watch ‘Cops’ on TV. He really held that profession in high regard and thought it was something he would like to do, and he went for it.
“Protect and serve was always his goal.”
Harvey, in a telephone interview on Monday, said her son has always made her proud.
“When he was in school, I would get compliments from teachers about what a polite, well-mannered kid he was,” she said. “He would always go above and beyond to help anyone and he was always very protective of his family, especially his sister.”
There was an incident at a Clovis burger place when Chris was 13 and his sister was 14. “An older kid started messing with Ashley and her friend and Chris took off running after the guy,” Harvey said. “He was just really protective of his family.”
Harvey would like to protect her son today, but there is not much she can do. She just shows her support, and worries a little.
She said she has a “few choice names” for the man accused of shooting her son, but decided not to share.
“I am filled with so much emotion,” she said. “I am angry. I don’t understand why he would do that. I guess he was just scared. I am so angry, but more than anything I am relieved and thankful that Chris is OK.”
David Stevens is editor for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:
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