Remembering Detective Jeremiah MacKay
By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY
Sunday, Feb. 12 marked the 10th anniversary of the senseless slaying of Sheriff’s Detective Jeremiah MacKay by cop-killer Christopher Dorner, who was reportedly angry over his firing by the Los Angeles Police Department and waged a 10-day campaign of violence, shooting and seriously injuring San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Alex Collins and Riverside police officer Andrew Tashias, before mortally wounding another Riverside police officer.
With all routes into and out of the San Bernardino Mountains blocked by armed law enforcement units, an hours-long manhunt ensued, with five law enforcement agencies and 37 officers and deputies scouring the mountain communities for Dorner’s whereabouts. Dorner, who was apparently desperate to exit the mountain any way he could, headed to Big Bear Lake, where he was holed up in a cabin just below Bear Mountain Ski Resort for several hours. The sheriff’s department had set up a command center there in anticipation of spotting him in the area.
Dorner subsequently abducted two persons who were cleaning the cabin for the next renter, stole their SUV and then headed down Highway 38, with law enforcement personnel in pursuit.
After reaching Seven Oaks, near Angelus Oaks, Dorner again holed up in a cabin at the Seven Oaks Camp. It was here that authorities used tear gas, hoping to lure Dorner out into the open. Instead, according to Twin Peaks Station Commander Capt. Lupear, as Collins, MacKay and other law enforcement personnel were conversing in the street, Dorner opened fire on them. As Collins, MacKay and other law enforcement personnel were conversing in the street, Dorner opened fire on them. The other deputies dodged an onslaught of bullets to get to the two injured deputies and drag them to safety. Neither of them had an opportunity to draw their weapon before Dorner reportedly kept shooting at them. This is where Deputy Alex Collins was wounded and Detective MacKay was shot multiple times, succumbing to his injuries. According to authorities, the standoff ended with Dorner taking his own life.
According to former (now deceased) Sheriff’s Sgt. Chuck Wyatt, Jeremiah Alan MacKay, 35 at the time of his death, was born and raised in Crestline and attended local schools, graduating from Rim of the World High School in 1995. His grandmother, Audrey MacKay, was a community leader involved with the Lake Arrowhead Village and Lake Arrowhead Chamber of Commerce. Audrey MacKay Park was named in her honor.
Jeremiah MacKay was hired by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in July of 1998. Upon completion of basic law enforcement training at the sheriff’s academy in Devore, he, like most deputies, was assigned to the Correctional Division until there was an opening at the patrol station of his choice. His choice was, naturally, the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station, working all aspects of a patrol deputy.
To increase his knowledge and expertise, MacKay applied for and was accepted as a patrol deputy at the Yucaipa Sheriff’s/Police Station. As his experience and expertise increased, he was afforded an opportunity for promotion to sheriff’s detective and again was assigned to the Twin Peaks station, handling not only criminal investigations, but also working as the shift’s watch commander.
As part of MacKay’s continual drive to improve himself, he requested a transfer to the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station where he could gain more experience in county and contract city investigations. Eventually, he transferred back to the Yucaipa Station to be closer to Redlands where he was residing with his wife, 7-year-old daughter and 4-month-old son.
In MacKay’s free time, one of his hobbies was music. He could sing and play several instruments, one of which was the bagpipes, which he was most noted for. He was well-known throughout the region for performing at sheriff’s academy graduations and law enforcement funerals and memorials.
Capt. Lupear told The Alpine Mountaineer on Feb. 13 that MacKay’s funeral, held at then Blockbuster Pavilion (now Glen Helen Amphitheater), drew over 1,000 mourners.
“I knew him when he worked up here and at Central Station. He was a fun-loving, happy-go-lucky guy,” the captain said.
On Monday, Feb. 13, some 50 to 60 sheriff’s personnel, as well as family members, friends and MacKay’s parents, marched to the tune of bagpipe music from Papagayo’s restaurant to the Jeremiah MacKay monument in Lake Arrowhead Village, where fond memories of MacKay were recalled by Capt. Don Lupear, Lt. Craig Harris and San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus. MacKay’s father, Allan MacKay, a retired firefighter, asked everyone to pray whenever they hear a first responder’s siren.
San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus was a featured speaker at Monday’s memorial ceremony in honor of slain sheriff’s detective Jeremiah MacKay. (Photo by Douglas W. Motley)
Jeremiah MacKay’s parents and family members attended the yearly event for the first time. (Photo by Douglas W. Motley)
Jeremiah MacKay was proud of his Scottish heritage. (Facebook photo)