Class of 1983 Yuba City High School graduate and former police officer Kevin Nishita died from injuries sustained while working as a security guard for a Bay Area TV crew last week, the Mercury News reported.
A KRON4 news crew had been covering a recent robbery of a clothing store in Oakland when an assailant tried to steal the station’s camera equipment on Nov. 24. Nishita was shot during the attempted robbery and died on Saturday, the Mercury News reported.
Nishita worked at the San José Police Department from 2001-2012 and in 2012 he joined the Colma Police Department. He retired from the Colma Police Department in 2018, according to news releases from both departments. Nishita also worked for the Hayward Police Department.
“His contagious smile, passion to serve others, and an unmatched work ethic embodied the best of all of us,” San José Police Chief Anthony Mata said via a release. “As a patrol officer, gang detective, and as a person, Kevin modeled bravery, kindness, and dedication helping make San José a better place for everyone.”
Classmates of Nishita’s have been contacting each other sharing memories of their fellow Class of 1983 graduate and are hoping to meet up together in person to commemorate Nishita’s life.
Scott Silsbee went to YCHS with Nishita and retired from law enforcement in 2019 after 32 years. He retired as the California Highway Patrol Deputy Commissioner and served as the commander of the Yuba City office from 2004-2008.
Silsbee said Nishita epitomized community service and was “the perfect person to be in law enforcement.” Silsbee now lives in Woodland and said he hadn’t been in contact with Nishita for some time but had been following his law enforcement career.
“As a kid he was just the nicest, funniest, most approachable guy you have ever met,” Silsbee said.
He said Nishita was a “problem solver” and always knew how to add humor to a situation to relieve tension between people. Silsbee said that “Kevin Nishita quality” is something he looks for in young people who want to go into law enforcement.
“It made perfect sense that he became a cop,” Silsbee said.
Former Yuba City Police Department officer Kerry Vickner was a classmate of Nishita’s at YCHS. He said all the media coverage about Nishita’s life and who he was matches up with his memory of Nishita. Vickner worked for YCPD from 1986-2007.
He said Nishita maintained his kindness and compassion through his stops at departments in some of the most active parts of the state. Vickner said there is an impact on the community when people like Nishita who understood the importance of service are taken away.
“When they’re taken from us that leaves a void,” Vickner said.
Sam Piper, now of Chico, was another classmate of Nishita’s. He said he’s trying to connect with other members of the class to get together in honor of Nishita.
“That guy had a smile so big,” Piper said. “... He made you in a good mood.”
Piper, along with Silsbee and another classmate Iqbal Basrai, of Yuba City, recalled Nishita being involved in a minor accident with his station wagon during their senior year, which saw two of his car’s wheels get stuck on the guide wire of a power pole. While some may have become frustrated or angry about the incident, Basrai said it was a light-hearted moment that encapsulated Nishita’s sense of humor.
Basrai described Nishita as caring and someone who was always considerate and respectful of others.
As of Wednesday afternoon, a GoFundMe page had raised $41,941 that will go toward medical expenses, food, transportation, and memorial expenses for the Nishita family. Those who wish to donate may do so by visiting https://bit.ly/3rqfSA6.