Christopher-Lee Sampayan, 31

Christopher-Lee: He wanted to become an aviator

The son of World War II veterans advocate R Sonny Sampayan of New York was killed in a vehicular incident October 2 in Riverside, Calif.

Christopher-Lee Sampayan died when a freight train smashed into his BMW at a rail crossing, according to a report by He was 31.

Published reports say “the car’s air bags deployed and the driver was not responding to calls. Authorities reached the man’s car on foot and pulled him out just before it burst into flames. However, paramedics and firefighters later pronounced him dead at the scene.”

“It is my sad duty to inform you that my first-born son, Christopher-Lee, was killed last Sunday,” R Sonny wrote in email to friends and family. “Our family asked that you include Lee and our families in your prayers.”

R Sonny said his son graduated from the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corp. in San Bernardino because of his “love for flying.” He was working for his father-in-law’s business.

“He wanted to become an aviator and fly fighter,” he told The FilAm. “Unfortunately, the Air Force was drawing down on pilot slots when he graded and he only wanted to be a fighter pilot like Maverick in the movie, ‘Top Gun.’”

A memorial service will be held October 8 at 9:30 a.m. at Sandals Church at 150 Palmyrita Avenue in Riverside. Immediately after the service, Christopher-Lee’s final resting place will be at Olivewood Memorial Park, 3300 Central Avenue also in Riverside.

“We missed him terribly but he is now our angel,” R Sonny wrote on his Facebook wall in response to messages of condolences.

Aside from his father, Christopher-Lee is survived also by wife Britney Martin, his mom Carmen Pantoja, and his younger brother Sean-Michael.


  1. Rita M. Gerona-Adkins wrote:


    I just read the FilAm Magazine story on Sonny Sampayan’s son’s tragic death. I have never met him, but I know his father very well and feel very sad about his loss. What a loss to the FilAm community as well.. My heart goes out to Sonny and his family in their time of grief and sorrow. And thanks, more power to FilAm Magazine. Rita M. Gerona-Adkins

    • Debbie Fulkerson wrote:

      I was so sad to read about Christopher’s accident. He was our next-door neighbor in Riverside. He was such a friendly and outgoing young man. My heart goes out to his wife and family. May he rest in peace.

  2. Eric wrote:

    im absolutley devesated to here about Chris passing, i went to HS w/ Chris @ Notre Dame High school
    i hope in rest in peace


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