Small town mourns after accidental death of Fresno County Sheriff's deputy

TRANQUILLITY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The death of Sheriff's Deputy Rod Lucas has affected just about everybody in his home town of Tranquillity.

"It's just a very sad situation for a small community like this," said Hardware store owner Michael Puscheu.

Puscheu said everybody knew Rod.

"Very well known in the area, very well liked. Really a good person, a good guy, definitely did what he could to help the community when he could."

Rod made a name for himself at Tranquillity High School in football and wrestling. One of his former coaches and teachers, Nick Bowles, said unlike many others, he came back to serve his hometown.

"He was an excellent student, excellent adult, always involved in the community and was really concerned about what was happening out here. He ran for the school board, served on the school board for four years, all around great guy."

Childhood pal Noel Bernal said Rod was a guy everybody looked up to.

"He was one of those guys that all the guys loved and gravitated to, just he was just an all around great guy. Everybody wanted to be him, athletic, big, tall, strong, by virtue of that too all of the girls always wanted to be with him. He was a lot of fun to be with."

Rod's death is another loss for his family and this community. Just outside of town is a memorial to his brother Roe John and another teen, Larry Gilio, both were killed in a traffic accident there in 1991.

In recent years Rod and his family lived in Lemoore, where he was also involved in the community, coaching youth football.

"Everyone that met him remembers him, and its just a sad sad thing that happened," said Bernal.

Sgt. Lucas' parents and other family members still live in Tranquility and are devastated by his death.
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