REDLANDS (CBSLA.com) — A Redlands Police Sergeant was honored with the Mayor’s Award Tuesday for his bravery during the February gun battle with ex-cop Christopher Dorner in Big Bear.
Mayor Pete Aguilar presented the honor to Sergeant Stephen Crane at the Redlands City Council meeting Tuesday, thanking him for his service.
“It’s hard for me to talk about it obviously,” said Sgt. Crane, who had previously not spoken about his experience publicly.
The Redlands officer was one of the first on scene February 12 when Dorner was spotted in Big Bear after carjacking a vehicle.
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Detective Jeremiah MacKay, Deputy Alex Collins, and Deputy Jeff McDaniel, and Crane were ambushed at the scene.
“Unfortunately Jeremiah’s life was taken to my left and Alex was standing to my right when they were shot,” Crane said Tuesday.
While still under heavy gunfire, Sgt. Crane and Deputy McDaniel carried the wounded deputies to a vehicle and quickly backed out of the area. They were taken by helicopter to the hospital.
“It’s definitely the darkest day in my career in law enforcement,” said Sgt. Crane, who proudly but reluctantly accepted the Mayor’s Award, calling it “bittersweet” to receive.
Deputy Collins sustained multiple gunshot wounds and is still recovering. Detective MacKay died from his wounds.
“The true heroes that day were definitely Jeremiah MacKay and Alex Collins,” said Sgt. Crane. “My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to their families.”