A Southern California deputy was fatally shot on Thursday afternoon, authorities confirmed, and the suspect was later shot dead by officers following a police pursuit.
Just before 2 p.m. local time, a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot after stopping a vehicle in the town of Jurupa Valley, according to the sheriff’s department. He later died of his injuries.
The deputy was identified as Isaiah Cordero, 32, an eight-year veteran of the department, according to Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco.
At a press conference Thursday night, Bianco said Cordero was shot as he approached the suspect’s vehicle after stopping him. Residents attempted to help Cordero until officers and paramedics arrived on the scene.
It is not known what caused the traffic stoppage.
After the shooting, the suspect’s pickup truck was spotted in nearby San Bernardino County, Bianco said, and a high-speed chase ensued involving multiple law enforcement agencies.
The chase crossed several highways and eventually returned to Riverside County. It ended when the truck collided with another vehicle, Bianco said, on Highway 15 in the town of Norco.
The driver then fired at officers, and they returned fire, Bianco revealed. The suspect, identified as William Shae McKay, 44, died at the scene.
“The suspect was shooting at deputies, prompting them to return fire, and he was killed,” Bianco said.
According to Bianco, McKay had a “long criminal history” dating back to before 2000, including convictions for kidnapping, robbery and multiple assaults with a deadly weapon. One involved the stabbing of a California Highway Patrol K-9, Bianco said.
His most recent conviction came in November 2021 for kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon, Bianco said. McKay’s bail in that case was reduced by a judge, allowing him to be released, according to Bianco. McKay was later rearrested for failing to show up for his sentencing hearing, but “that same judge released him again,” Bianco said.
“We wouldn’t be here today if the judge had done her job,” Bianco told reporters.
On Thursday night, Cordero’s body was taken in a procession from a hospital to the Riverside County Coroner’s Office in nearby Perris. Dozens of MPs lined up outside the hospital to pay their respects.
Jurupa Valley is located about 80 km east of Los Angeles.