RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — The family of a slain Southern California sheriff’s deputy on Friday demanded the resignation of a judge who had previously released the lawman’s shooter despite a violent criminal record.
Riverside County Deputy Isaiah Cordero, 32, was fatally shot Dec. 29 during a traffic stop in the city of Jurupa Valley, east of Los Angeles.
Cordero had pulled over a pickup truck and the driver, 44-year-old William Shae McKay, pulled a gun and shot the deputy as he approached the vehicle, authorities said. Law enforcement pursued McKay in a “massive manhunt” that included a chase along freeways in two counties.
McKay was killed during a shootout with deputies after the truck crashed.
Sobbing throughout her eulogy Friday during a memorial service, Rebecca Cordero said she last saw her son on Christmas Eve.
“We do not know how we are supposed to carry on without you,” she said. “Your selflessness and determination will not be forgotten.”
Although Cordero was officially killed by gunfire, Rebecca Cordero blamed the current political climate and anti-law enforcement sentiments, as well as San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Cara D. Hutson. Requests for comment were sent Friday to Hutson and the court’s spokesperson.
“The actual cause of death: disdain, disrespect, disregard, a dysfunctional system that has unfairly been politicized,” Rebecca Cordero said.
McKay had a long and violent criminal history stretching back to before 2000 that included kidnapping, robbery and multiple arrests for assault with a deadly weapon, including the stabbing of a California Highway Patrol dog, according to Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco.
The sheriff said McKay was convicted of a “third strike” offense in 2021 that should have put him in state prison for 25 years to life, but the judge lowered his bail, allowing his release, and later released him following an arrest for failing to appear at his sentencing.
“He should have been immediately sentenced to 25 years to life,” Bianco previously said. “We would not be here today if the judge had done her job.”
Cordero joined the 4,000-member strong department as a corrections deputy, worked in local jails, became a sworn deputy in 2018 and completed motor school to become a motorcycle deputy in September.
He qualified posthumously, for what would have been the second year in a row, to be decorated by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for his work taking impaired motorists into custody.