Law enforcement says goodbye to Deputy Jeremiah MacKay

Megan Terlecky, News Channel 3 Anchor & Reporter, megan.terlecky@kesq.com
POSTED: 06:06 PM PST Feb 21, 2013    UPDATED: 08:19 PM PST Feb 21, 2013 
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -

A second law enforcement officer in just nine days is laid to rest.  Thursday, the law enforcement community remembered and honored San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremiah MacKay.

The 35-year-old was the second officer killed by ex-cop Christopher Dorner.  Mackay was killed in a shootout in the mountains near Big Bear, that ultimately led to the end of Dorner's rampage.

Officers from all over the country, including the Coahcella Valley, came together in a display of gratitude.

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said, "Jeremiah MacKay stood for good against evil."

MacKay died trying to stop a man determined to harm others, something his father says Jeremiah spent his life doing.

"He wanted to intervene when somebody was hurting somebody else and that is what Jeremiah did," said Alan MacKay.

A 15-year veteran with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, he earned several honors and became a detective.

The 35-year-old played the bagpipes, so it's fitting the sound of over 100 people playing the traditional Scottish instrument ushered in his casket.

The loving husband and father took great joy in helping his 6-year-old stepdaughter, Kaitlyn, with karate.  His 4-month-old son Cayden was the light of his life.  The boy will never know his father, but MacKay's fellow deputies will make sure he grows up with the memory of him.

Sheriff McMahon said, "Jeremiah's bravery, heroism and sacrifice will not be forgotten. Every law enforcement officer in California owes a debt of gratitude to Jeremiah."

That's something the law enforcement community understands, nearly 10,000 people attended the service to say thank you.

"It's been overwhelming for me and my family, but it's the love and the kind thoughts and prayers that we covet.  That is what is getting us through this," said MacKay's father.

This is the largest funeral in the history of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and the procession to the San Manuel Amphitheater, where the service was held, is equally as impressive. We're told at one point, the line of police cars and fire trucks was 15 miles long.  Hundreds of people lined the streets, waving American flags along the way to pay their respects.

Wendi Nees, a police dispatcher, said,  "I like the kids to know that it's a hero, a hero that lost his life for, essentially, us."

Paul Lence, High Desert resident, said, "I think every one of these guys knows when they go to work it might be their last day."

MacKay sacrificed his life for the public's safety, so his fellow officers in-turn protected him.  They followed his casket on the ground and in the air; even the mounted police stood guard.  During the service, sheep dogs stood by.  It's an animal known as a protector in the Scottish culture.

"It could be anybody, it could be any of us or one of our family members, our friends. It was our friend, a friend lost her husband, we lost a co-worker and now another law enforcement family member," said Nees.

"This is not goodbye, this is just,  'See you later, Jeremiah,'" said Alan MacKay.