TULARE COUNTY (KFSN) --Family members said both men were professionals on the job and wonderful people away from work. The pilot loved to fly and take his family on adventures.
James Chavez was admired and respected in his family. The one who everyone agrees was thoughtful, smart, non-judgmental and always ready to help anyone at anytime. "He would be the kind of guy that ran into a burning building to save you, at his cost," said Sandra Powers, victim's cousin.
His loved ones said he worked long hours, mostly at night, but at home the passionate pilot was all about family.
He and his wife, Melissa, were adventurous and loved traveling with their son and daughter.
Deputy Scott Ballantyne was quiet but friendly, according to longtime neighbor Elyssa Cordova. But if there was ever any problem in the neighborhood, they could always count on him. "He was our safety blanket for the neighborhood. He was our go to. We knew he was the big boss of the neighborhood."
Both the pilot and deputy spent long hours together in the air. Other aviators who knew them said they worked well together and were always safe and professional.
The families of the pilot and deputy spent Thursday making funeral arrangements.
The flag at the Tulare County Sheriff's headquarters is at half staff and family members said they are still processing the sad events of the past 24 hours.