RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — More than 100 police, fire and city employees held a candlelight vigil in memory of a 34-year-old Riverside Police officer slain Thursday morning.
Officials are still not releasing the officer’s name — for security reasons — but said he served in the department for 11 years.
Authorities believe the officer was gunned down by former LAPD cop Christopher Dorner, the suspect also accused in a double homicide of an engaged couple in Irvine.
Juan Fernandez, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, attended the vigil held at a courtyard outside Riverside City Hall.
Joining the grieving officers, many residents who were also touched — and angered — by the officer’s murder.
Resident Heather Aduddell, “They take care of us, they protect us. They try to keep us safe. And to have an officer taken away like this, it’s a violation.”
Officials said about 1:30 Thursday morning, the officer and his partner were on a routine patrol when Dorner allegedly ambushed them.
The slain officer’s partner, who was reportedly training, was seriously injured. He is in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds.
Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz told Fernandez that this was a trying day he’d sooner forget. “You want to be able to get through a tour of duty as a chief without ever having to do this once [deal with an officer being shot and killed.] And I’ve had to this a couple of times now, and there are aspects of this that can’t be delegated to anyone else.”
The Riverside Police department has more than 370 officers and at tonight’s vigil, Fernandez reported that the feeling of camaraderie and community is evident. And it spills over to the public the officers protest.
Resident Brad Aduddell said, “I really respect the police department. It’s just horrible.”
Many of the residents told Fernandez that an assault on the department is an assault on the entire community. Denise Henderson said, “They don’t just think of us as citizens. They think of us as their extended family here.”
In response to several requests, the Riverside Police Department issued a statement Friday, thanking the community for their support. The statement also included information about where to send donations. Checks can be mailed to: Riverside Police Officers Association Assistance Fund or RPOA, 1965 Chicago Ave. Suite B, Riverside, CA 92507.