Support for a Fresno County officer critically injured in a jailhouse shooting Saturday is pouring in from many people who knew him.
At Buchanan High School on Sunday evening, approximately 100 people, mostly students, gathered to pray for sheriff’s correctional officer Toamalama Scanlan and his family.
Scanlan, 40, from Clovis, and fellow correctional officer Juanita Davila, 51, of Sanger, were each shot once by a man in the lobby of the downtown Fresno jail on Saturday morning. Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said Davila was in critical but stable condition and Scanlan was in critical condition Monday at Community Regional Medical Center.
Botti said Sunday that the families of the officers had requested privacy.
Buchanan High sophomore Sierra Steffen organized the vigil with friends to let Scanlan’s family know the community is holding strong, hoping for a quick recovery.
It’s not about knowing the family, but the family knowing that you’re here for them and praying for them and hoping that everything goes well with the recovery.
Sierra Steffen, who helped organize a vigil at Buchanan High
“It feels good knowing that there are people out there that want to support the family,” Steffen said, adding that she knows Scanlan’s daughter and said the vigil was a chance to give strength to the Scanlan family during a difficult time.
“It’s not about knowing the family, but the family knowing that you’re here for them and praying for them and hoping that everything goes well with the recovery,” Steffen said.
Scanlan’s son Toamalama, a junior at Buchanan, left his father’s bedside to attend.
“It really touched my heart to see all these people here to pray for my family,” the younger Scanlan said. “The support and prayer for my family, it really picks me up.”
Many school friends were there, and Scanlan said that through support from friends and family, “I’m feeling a lot better.”
He said Scanlan family members from places such as Las Vegas, San Francisco, Utah and Hawaii have arrived in Fresno. His father, originally from American Samoa, came to Fresno in 1995 and played football for one season at Fresno State.
Though not all his relatives have been able to see his father, Scanlan said it just feels good to have family together. He said his father was showing signs of improvement Sunday, saying he can now move his right hand.
“Family” extends to Fresno Christian High School, where the elder Scanlan is an assistant football coach. Head coach Russ Counts said Scanlan was on the field Friday night for the Eagles’ home game against Coast Union.
Counts said the 40-year-old officer volunteered at the high school as a defensive line coach. The players loved him, he said.
“They welcomed him in as a new coach this year,” Counts said. “They just want him out on the field; they love him so much.”
It really touched my heart to see all these people here to pray for my family.
Toamalama Scanlan, son of a wounded Fresno County sheriff’s correctional officer
Steven Fogg, a Fresno physician who has known Scanlan for approximately 10 years, said Sunday that he has seen Scanlan’s character demonstrated as a volunteer youth leader at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Clovis – the kind of character Scanlan demonstrated Saturday morning.
“He was injured in the act of protecting a fellow officer,” Fogg said. “That’s who he is. He would come to the rescue of anyone.”
How to help
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said the Fresno Deputy Sheriff’s Association is handling donations intended for Scanlan’s and Davila’s families.
▪ Checks can be made payable to the FDSA (write “Injured officers fund” in the memo field) and mailed to: FDSA, 1360 Van Ness Ave., Fresno, CA 93721.
▪ Donations of other items may be brought to FDSA Headquarters. For questions or to arrange a drop-off time, call Eric Schmidt at 559-281-8784.
In addition, a GoFundMe account has been established to assist the two officers and their families: https://www.gofundme.com/injuredofficerfund