RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — The community has rallied behind a man whose testimony helped convict a man in the 2010 slaying of a police officer in Riverside.
Steve McQueen was the sole witness to the murder of Riverside police officer and Iraq war veteran Ryan Bonaminio.
Bonaminio was shot and killed while chasing Earl Ellis Green, a suspect of a hit-and-run.
McQueen’s testimony at trial helped lead to the conviction of Green, who was sentenced to death in June 2012.
“I didn’t even consider not helping. To tell you the truth, I wanted to get him help that night,” he said.
“To get the slam dunk case that we did, Steve played a big role in that,” said Chuck Griffitts, a retired Riverside Police Department lieutenant.
That’s why when Griffitts saw that McQueen was homeless at a recent memorial for Bonaminio, he wanted to help.
“He did the right thing and I think we need to do the right thing. He stepped up and didn’t run away and we need to step up and take care of him,” said Griffitts, who started a GoFundMe page that has already raised $7,000. A motel room for McQueen has already been paid for through the end of the month.
“It just restores my confidence that there’s still good people out there,” said McQueen. “This is a lot better than the trunk in the car.”
McQueen says he soon plans to move into public assisted housing and as an artist hopes to start selling some of his work, progress that he says was made possible all because of help from strangers.
“God bless you and thank you,” he said. “Thank you so much.”