Nine years ago, on the first anniversary of his father’s slaying at the hands of a rogue ex-LAPD cop, Ian Crain was an 11-year-old cracking corny Justin Bieber jokes while playing with Legos.
Early Tuesday morning, Feb. 7, as police officers assembled for their annual gathering at the street corner where Riverside police Officer Michael Crain was killed and partner Andrew Tachias was wounded, now 20-year-old Ian Crain towered above almost all of them at 6-foot-4 and spoke about plans to study military weapons engineering in college.
“I can’t believe it’s been 10 years already,” Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez told about two dozen people in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven at Magnolia and Arlington avenues.
At 1:35 a.m., a dispatcher cleared the Riverside radio channel to hold a moment of silence.
“Officer Michael Daniel Crain, end of watch on Feb. 7, 2013. A father, husband, son, brother, Marine and police officer who will never be forgotten. To the Crain and Tachias families, you will always be a part of us,” the dispatcher said.
Ian, his uncle Jason and grandfather Stephen were riding along with officers this night.
“It’s something different. It’s entertaining,” Ian Crain said. “It’s good to keep the memory of my dad alive. Just by talking about him, showing up and telling stories.”
Riverside police Officer Michael Crain. (Courtesy of Riverside Police Department)
Stephen Crain, 69, worked as a police officer in Fallsburg, New York. He does ride-alongs as often as he can, he said, because “It’s the one job I miss.”
Attending the annual gatherings and talking about Michael Crain’s career, he said, “is my way of remembering my son. It keeps my son’s name out there. I can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Stephen Crain proudly recalled how his son could defuse tense situations by showing respect to others, and he described a domestic violence call as an example.
“That’s the worst call you can get because you are going to help one person and all of a sudden both of them will turn on you,” he said. “When they pulled up, the guy they were going to see was bigger than Mike. The trainee said Mike got out of the car with a big ol’ smile on his face and the next thing he knew they were shaking hands and the guy was saying ‘Thank you, Officer,’ and the call was done with no incident.”
Tachias is continuing his recovery from the injuries that forced him to retire from law enforcement. Many of those who turned out Tuesday greeted Tachias as he stood quietly in front of the store. The Police Department posted a statement from the former officer on its website in which he described the mental and physical challenges he has faced.
Andrew Tachias, right, standing with Riverside police Officer Joe Simpson on Feb. 7, 2023, appears at the department’s annual gathering to remember Tachias’ partner, Michael Crain, who was slain on that date in 2013. Tachias was wounded in the attack and had to retire from law enforcement. (Loudlabs News)
“I’ve learned to adapt to what my body can and can’t do and I’m aware of when I need to ask for assistance,” Tachias said in part. “What I struggle with the most now is sleep and memory loss. …
“The hardest part of the past 10 years for me was the mental aspect, which is trying to find purpose in life again. Though I would have things to do, a lot of it meant very little to me. I viewed it as someone trapped in this hole with an infinite number of doors, and one of those doors is the way out to finding purpose. … I was determined to never give up and continue to fight as long as I have to. I do feel at peace and that journey in doing so wasn’t easy.”
The Police Department also posted a statement from Crain’s widow, Regina Crain, who said daughter Kaitlyn continues to do ballet and is a straight-A student in high school.
“Thank you for remembering Mike,” Regina Crain said in part. “It has been a great comfort, these last 10 years, knowing that he is not forgotten. As his memory lives on, I hope it gives courage to all the other heroes that are putting their lives on the line every day. …
“Memories of Mike still fill our home and our hearts. Mike’s closest friends share uplifting and often silly stories about Mike with Kaitlyn and I. Sharing our love of him with Kaitlyn has helped her to not dwell in the grief, but instead to celebrate his life,” Crain said.