A Southern California sheriff's deputy was shot and killed Thursday by a man with a violent criminal history during a traffic stop and the suspect later died in a shootout on a freeway, authorities said.
Isaiah Cordero, 32, had pulled over a pickup truck just before 2 p.m. in the city of Jurupa Valley, east of Los Angeles. As he approached the vehicle, the driver pulled a gun and shot him, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said at an evening news conference.
And yet the circumstances that led to it are infuriating:
The suspect, William Shae McKay, 44, of San Bernardino County, had a long and violent criminal history stretching back to before 2000 that included kidnapping, robbery and multiple arrests for assault with a deadly weapon, including the stabbing of a California Highway Patrol dog, the sheriff said. ...
The sheriff said McKay had been convicted of a "third strike" offense last year that should have put him in state prison for 25 years to life but a San Bernardino County judge lowered his bail, allowing his release, and later released him following an arrest for failing to appear at his sentencing.
As Sheriff Bianco put it:
"He should have been immediately sentenced to 25 years to life," Bianco said. "We would not be here today if the judge had done her job." Bianco said.
Reform is obviously needed, in California most of all. We cannot prioritize the feelings of violent criminals over the lives of law enforcement officers.
We'll leave you with this moving scene from the transportation of Deputy Cordero's body last week: