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Slain deputy Isaiah Cordero from Riverside County remembered in funeral

Hundreds, if not thousands, of family, friends and law enforcement brethren are paying their respects to slain Riverside County sheriff’s motorcycle Deputy Isaiah Cordero at his funeral Friday morning, Jan. 6.

The celebration of life at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside — which began with an acoustic rendition of “Amazing Grace” — drew local officers and those from as far east as New York City.

“We’re here to support our brother families in law enforcement,” New York City Sgt. Ricardo Montilla said as officers assembled outside the Arlington Avenue church ahead of the service.

“We’re here to show the whole nation that all police forces are one family.”

A 2-mile procession from Acheson & Graham Mortuary ended at Harvest for Cordero’s funeral.

Scores of people lined the route to honor the fallen officer.

“It’s a tragedy that was so close to home,” said Ana Ariza, who stood outside the old Sears building at Arlington and California avenues as the cavalcade passed.

“It made us realize that life is short and we have to value it.”

Cordero, 32, was shot to death during a Dec. 29 traffic stop as he walked to a black pickup on Condor Drive at about 1:45 p.m. in the Rubidoux neighborhood of Jurupa Valley.

Residents of that street rushed to Cordero’s aid, but he was pronounced dead at Riverside Community Hospital.

Witnesses and license plate reading cameras helped deputies quickly identify the suspect vehicle as well as the driver. Deputies found 44-year-old William Shae McKay behind the wheel in San Bernardino County and pursued him up and down the 15 Freeway, back and forth on the 60 and finally back down the 15, where he crashed in Norco.

McKay, a two-strike convict who had a warrant out for his arrest for skipping bail in his latest felony case, died in a gun battle with officers, Sheriff Chad Bianco said.

People who Cordero met as he patrolled Jurupa Valley on his motorcycle described him as an upbeat, considerate person who enjoyed engaging with children. One year the Cajon High School graduate handed out Christmas presents to children from the back of his patrol car.

Another time he escorted Santa Claus to the home of a woman whose husband had recently died.

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Cordero inspired his cousin, David Padilla, to continue to pursue a career in law enforcement despite some setbacks. Padilla is now a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy.

Anaheim Sgt. Joe Atkinson, a fellow motorcycle officer who attended Cordero’s funeral, said he Friday that he feels exposed during traffic stops, but even officers in patrol cars feel the same way when they are away from their cars.

Officers relay on their training to stay safe, he added.

“But then you have to trust the good faith of humanity,” Atkinson continued. “Fortunately, most people are good.

“Unfortunately, this one wasn’t,” he said, referring to McKay.

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