Riverside, CA – The mother of slain Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy Isaiah Cordero has called for the judge who released her son’s killer on bail ahead of the deadly shooting to resign.
William Shae McKay, a 44-year-old convicted felon, was out on bail awaiting sentencing for offenses that could have sent him to prison for more than 20 years when he murdered Deputy Cordero on Dec. 29, 2022, KABC reported.
McKay’s criminal history dated back more than two decades, and included offenses such as stabbing a California Highway Patrol K9, kidnapping, multiple assaults with a deadly weapon, and robbery, among others, according to KTTV.
“This terrible tragedy should have been prevented by the legal system,” an outraged Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said during a press conference just hours after the 32-year-old deputy’s murder.
“McKay has an extensive and violent past and was convicted of a third strike in November of 2021,” Sheriff Bianco noted. “Instead of sentencing him to 25 years to life, which should have happened, the judge lowered his bail, allowing him to be released.”
“We would not be here today if that judge had done her job,” Sheriff Bianco added.
Although the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office had urged the judge to hold McKay without bail, the judge opted to set his bail at $500,000, KABC reported.
His bail was later lowered, and he bonded out in March on 2022 and was granted another continuance on sentencing in July of the same year.
The repeat offender skipped out on his sentencing hearing in October of 2022, at which point a warrant for his arrest was issued, KABC reported.
McKay was arrested on his warrant for skipping his sentencing but the same judge who had lowered his bail released him yet again, according to the sheriff.
“Our Office upheld our oath of pursuing justice by prosecuting convicted felon McKay in November of 2021, however a failure in the process to separate McKay from society and hold him accountable for his crimes has resulted in the tragic loss of a law enforcement deputy,” the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement to KABC.
Deputy Cordero’s grieving mother, Rebecca Cordero, pushed the issue further while delivering a heartbreaking eulogy at her son’s funeral on Friday, according to KABC.
Rebecca Cordero blasted San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Cara Hutson’s decision to allow a repeat felon like McKay back onto the streets – especially when he had yet another potentially lengthy prison term looming over him.
She said Hutson, the current anti-law enforcement rhetoric, and the political climate are all to blame for her son’s murder, KABC reported.
“Judge Cara Hutson, my family is devastated. My son was a good man,” Rebecca Cordero said. “My family and Isaiah’s brothers and sisters and his community demand your resignation.”
The church erupted in applause in response to the grieving mother’s words, KABC reported.
Rebecca Cordero said she believes her son helped protect others from the violent felon, even though it cost him his life.
“You fought the good fight, my boy,” she said.
The incident began at approximately 2 p.m. on Dec. 29, 2022, when Deputy Cordero pulled a vehicle over in the 3900-block of Golden West Avenue, KTTV reported.
The reason for the traffic stop has not been released.
Deputy Cordero was approaching the vehicle when McKay suddenly pointed a gun at him and shot him, according to Sheriff Bianco.
McKay fled the scene as witnesses dialed 911 and tried to help the wounded deputy until emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene, KTTV reported.
Deputy Cordero was rushed to a nearby trauma center, where he succumbed to his injuries, according to KABC.
The shooting triggered a massive manhunt, during which McKay was spotted in San Bernardino County, KTTV reported.
When deputies tried to approach him, McKay fled again.
They pursued the suspect’s vehicle into Riverside County, where the suspect ultimately crashed on the southbound 15 Freeway under the 5th Street overpass near Norco, KABC reported.
Sheriff Bianco said the suspect’s vehicle had been disabled with a “tire deflation device,” and that a law enforcement bearcat pinned his truck on an embankment on the shoulder of the roadway.
McKay opened fire on deputies after the wreck, according to Sheriff Bianco.
The suspect was mortally wounded when deputies returned fire.
He was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, KTTV reported.
Deputy Cordero began his law enforcement career in May of 2014, when he joined the RCSO as a correctional officer, KTTV reported.
He worked at the Indio Jail, the Robert Presley Detention Center, and at the Larry Smith Correctional Center before entering the 204 Basic Academy in February of 2018.
He was subsequently promoted as a sworn deputy sheriff, KTTV reported.
Deputy Cordero had just completed motor school this past September, which was a major milestone for him.
“From the day he was hired, his goal was to become a motor deputy,” Sheriff Bianco said, according to KTTV. “Deputy Cordero learned from his mother the value of serving and helping others.”
The sheriff said the young deputy was a “jokester around the station,” KABC reported.
“All of our deputies considered him their little brother,” he added.
The Riverside Sheriff’s Association (RSA) described Deputy Cordero as “a ray of sunshine” within the RCSO who was “dedicated to protecting others,” KTTV reported.
“Once again, we face a tragic reminder of the selflessness and unwavering courage required of peace officers and their families,” the RSA said. “Deputy Cordero put on his uniform daily to make a difference in his community and keep families safe. Deputy Cordero’s death leaves a tremendous hole in the hearts of so many people who had the chance to know him personally.”
Deputy Cordero leaves behind his girlfriend, his parents, and his stepbrother, according to FOX News.