Norco, CA – The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) has released bodycam and helicopter footage showing the chaotic chase and shootout that transpired after a repeat felon murdered a deputy during a traffic stop late last year (video below).
William Shae Amador 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 Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy Isaiah Cordero on Dec. 29, 2022, KABC reported.
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 in Jurupa Valley, KTTV reported.
Deputy Cordero was approaching the vehicle when McKay suddenly pointed a gun at him and shot him, according to Riverside County Sheriff Chad 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.
Law enforcement officers pursued the gunman up and down several roadways and attempted to stop him using tire-deflating devices and multiple precision immobilization technique (PIT) maneuvers, Sheriff Bianco said in a critical incident briefing.
RCSD helicopter footage released on Wednesday showed a convoy of emergency vehicles following the violent suspect down the highway.
Another clip showed a bearcat performing a PIT maneuver on the fleeing vehicle, but McKay was ultimately able to regain control and briefly continued down the interstate.
McKay ultimately crashed on the southbound 15 Freeway under the Fifth Street overpass near Norco, KABC reported.
“Ultimately, due to a mechanical malfunction, the [suspect] vehicle veered right across all lanes of traffic and came to a stop on the shoulder under the Fifth Street overpass,” Sheriff Bianco said in the critical incident briefing.
Aerial footage showed a bearcat pinning the spun-out vehicle up against an embankment to block another escape.
McKay opened fire on deputies with a handgun after the wreck, according to Sheriff Bianco.
The RCSD released bodycam footage from multiple deputies that captured the chaotic shootout that ensued.
The suspect was mortally wounded in the hail of gunfire.
A SWAT team found McKay dead inside the vehicle.
They also recovered a “non-serialized 9mm semi-automatic pistol” at the scene, according to Sheriff Bianco.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office is leading the ongoing investigation into the incident with the assistance of the RCSD Force Investigations Detail and Central Homicide Unit.
An internal investigation is also underway.
Sheriff Bianco said McKay had active warrants for his arrest for failing to appear on kidnapping and the stabbing of a California Highway Patrol K9 at the time of the initial traffic stop.
He was also out on bail.
McKay’s criminal history dated back more than two decades, and included offenses such as attempted murder, robbery, and multiple assaults with a deadly weapon, according to Sheriff Bianco.
“This terrible tragedy should have been prevented by the legal system,” the outraged sheriff said during a press conference just hours after the 32-year-old deputy’s murder.
OFFICER DOWN🚨: Prayers to the family of deputy Isaiah Cordero who was rushed to Riverside Community Hospital and later died after being shot in Jurupa Valley on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/Vg8T34gm7M
— Officer Lew (@officer_Lew) December 31, 2022
“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.
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.
Deputy Isaiah Cordero. Say his name. Judge Cara Hutson released the 3 strike felon twice in the past year. He should have been doing 25 to life when he murdered Deputy Isaiah Cordero.
Judge Cara Hutson is a registered Democrat. #justice #IsaiahCordero #judgecarahutson pic.twitter.com/dbTmX45Ef2
— Pat Walsh (@PatWals68248720) December 30, 2022
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.
There's nothing more solemn than the image of the riderless horse. An appropriate tribute by the Rose Parade to RCSD Deputy Isaiah Cordero, murdered in the line of duty.
Credit to Jurrivh for the background music. pic.twitter.com/uEIjB2SYwF
— Los Angeles Police Protective League (@LAPPL) January 4, 2023
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.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content: