YUCAIPA (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil Tuesday night in honor of a San Bernardino County sheriff’s detective who was killed last week allegedly by murder suspect Christopher Dorner.
Jeremiah MacKay’s parents, wife, two children, and friends all attended the memorial at the Yucaipa Community Center, which was organized by the city of Yucaipa and its police department.
MacKay, who had been with the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department for 15 years, was gunned down Feb. 12 during a battle with the ex-LAPD officer in the Angelus Oaks area of Big Bear.
Alan MacKay, the 35-year-old victim’s father, said it’s tragic that his 4-month-old grandson will never know his dad.
“I grew up without a dad and I don’t want my grandson to grow up without knowing what his dad was all about…so that’s important to us right now,” he said.
Captain Lee Hamblin, MacKay’s commanding officer, said his colleague’s death was the hardest thing he’s ever had to experience.
“I’ve never lost a deputy under my command,” he said. “I would term him a cop’s cop. And to me, that’s the highest honor a law enforcement professional can give to another.”
MacKay’s father said Hamblin’s words, along with many others, have touched his family.
“What’s overwhelming is the outpouring of love and compassion I feel from the people he worked with…the people he touched,” he said.
Meantime, CBS2/KCAL9’s Greg Mills said thousands on social media platforms have come together to help the fallen hero’s friends and family.
Some people have contacted local hotels to foot the room bills for MacKay’s relatives or law enforcement colleagues who plan to come to town for his funeral Thursday at the San Manuel Amphitheatre.
“We have such a great community here in San Bernardino and Riverside. Everyone is just kind of coming together… and calling us… and donating rooms and asking how they can help. I’m really not surprised,” said Tina Marie Gardy from the Hilton San Bernardino.
Gardy said 40 rooms were donated by outside parties for those attending MacKay’s funeral. In addition, the hotel will offer a special room rate.
La Quinta Inn in San Bernardino has also offered a reduced room rate.