A Riverside County sheriff’s motorcycle patrolman slain by a convicted felon during a traffic stop will be laid to rest Friday following a public memorial service expected to draw hundreds of law enforcement officers from across the state to Riverside.
The memorial service for 32-year-old Deputy Isaiah Cordero is slated for 11 a.m. at Harvest Christian Fellowship, 6115 Arlington Ave. A private burial service will follow at an undisclosed location.
According to Harvest, the service will be livestreamed via the church’s portal: www.harvest.church. Sheriff’s officials also confirmed Tuesday that the service will be broadcast via the department’s social media pages — Facebook and YouTube — as well as the agency’s main website: www.riversidesheriff.org.
Cordero’s is the first line-of-duty death involving a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy in 15 years.
He was killed shortly before 2 p.m. Thursday in the 3900 block of Golden West Avenue, near Rathke Drive, less than a block from Rustic Lane Elementary School, which was not in session. The gunman died two hours later in a freeway gunfight with deputies.
“My heart goes out to the family, friends, and colleagues of Deputy Isaiah Cordero,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said Friday. “Deputy Cordero will forever be remembered for his extraordinary service protecting the people of California. I extend my sincere condolences to Deputy Cordero’s loved ones and the Riverside community.”
The Los Angeles Police Department also saluted “our brothers and sisters at the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department” amid their suffering, and the Riverside Police Department praised Cordero as “a hero.”
“We stand beside our brothers and sisters from the sheriff’s department as they mourn their tragic loss. May you rest in peace, good sir.”
The Riverside Sheriffs’ Association, which represents the nearly 4,000 line deputies countywide, remembered Cordero as “a ray of sunshine … a person who was dedicated to protecting others.”
The most recent funerals at Harvest for law enforcement officers were in 2019, involving California Highway Patrol Officer Andre Moye Jr. and CHP Sgt. Steve Licon. Several thousand people, including peace officers from throughout California and a few from other parts of the country, were in attendance.
Cordero began his career as a correctional deputy, working the county jails from 2014 to 2017. He went through an additional academy in 2018 to serve as a patrol deputy and was eventually accepted onto the motor unit, where he worked as a patrolman in Jurupa Valley from September to December 2022.
On Thursday, Sheriff Chad Bianco said the that eight-year law enforcement veteran “embodied our motto, `Service Above Self.”’
“All of our deputies considered him to be a little brother,” Bianco said during a news briefing outside sheriff’s headquarters in downtown Riverside.
Bianco said that Cordero stopped 44-year-old William S. McKay of San Bernardino, a three-strike felon, for reasons still under investigation but possibly related to irregularities with the black pickup he was driving.
According to the sheriff, McKay’s criminal history included convictions for kidnapping, assault on a California Highway Patrol canine and armed robbery.
“This tragedy should have been (prevented) by the criminal justice system,” Bianco said. “This suspect was on his third strike in 2021. But instead of receiving a sentence of 25 years to life in state prison, a judge lowered his bail. He failed to appear for sentencing … and the same judge released him again. We would not be here today if this judge had done her job.”
San Bernardino County Superior Court documents show that the judge was Cara D. Hutson, out of the Rancho Cucamonga branch. She was re-elected in June and has been a judicial officer since 2007.
“(McKay) should have been immediately sentenced. The judge allowed him out, and here we are today,” Bianco said.
The felon led a phalanx of law enforcement personnel on a roughly two-hour pursuit that started in San Bernardino and ended on southbound Interstate 15 in Norco, where his pickup crashed after the rear tires, which had blown after going over a police spike strip, caused the axle to fail.
Bianco alleged that McKay fired at law enforcement officers as they surrounded him. They returned fire and killed him, the sheriff said.
The Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Relief Foundation posted a “Help A Hero” page, where people can make donations to the Cordero family: helpahero.com/campaign/deputy-isaiah-cordero. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had raised $88,394 toward a goal of $100,000.
Cordero is survived by his parents, Gilbert and Rebecca Cordero, along with an older stepbrother.