LAKE ARROWHEAD, Calif. - Loved ones and colleagues are remembering San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremiah MacKay. MacKay was killed two days ago after a shootout with Christopher Dorner, who made his last stand at that cabin in the Big Bear Lake area. There's been an outpouring of sympathy for the family of MacKay. He's survived by his wife, a four-month old son, and a six-year old step daughter.
Communities across the southland are also remembering the fallen deputy.
MacKay graduated from Rim of the World high school, in Lake Arrowhead, in 1995. Current principal Catherine Obregon expressed her sadness to the news. "We knew that chances were, somebody from this community would be affected, but to know it was a student was shocking and someone so young," said Obregon.
Thirty-five year old Jeremiah MacKay served as a San Bernardino sheriff's deputy for fifteen years. He was shot and killed in the Angelus Oaks, less than 60 miles from where MacKay grew up, walked the hallways, rode the bus, and played sports on the snowy fields at Rim of the World high school. The whole school was affected by his death. "The impact on the students especially is seeing their teachers," said Obregon. "They see their teachers are upset and sharing memories of here."
Senior Ronnie Anderson was hit especially hard. His grandfather and both his parents work for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. He made a poster to show his appreciation for Deputy MacKay's sacrifice. "The reaction on me was just pure sadness, you know seeing all this happen," said Anderson. "I really wanted to pay my respects to the families and the officers themselves for the services they give to our communities."
Those who knew MacKay growing up, say he always wanted to serve and protect. "I think he was just living his dream," said Rod Rounke, a current teacher and former classmate of MacKay's. "I remember him saying, even back then, that he wanted to be in law enforcement in some capacity ."
Rounke shares a little bit about his impressions of MacKay. "He always struck me as a really sincere guy, an honest guy, and everybody liked having him on the team, said Rounke. "He was actually really outgoing and just really funny."
The 1995 yearbook shows a long list of activities MacKay was involved in his senior year, it also serves as a testament to his outgoing personality. "We used to have a hallway here called the 'hello hallway," said Obregon. "One of our teachers just started it so our students would just start greeting each other, and in his yearbook he actually comments on that, thanking everyone that said hello to him in the Hello Hallway, so that's important to me."
Art students will paint the quote in the revamped "Hello Hallway," making sure that the memory of Deputy Jeremiah MacKay never leaves the school. "The fact that it's the 'hello hallway' and brings fellowship to the students here, I think that would mean a lot to him," said senior Kaitlyn Griggs.
If you want to make a donation to the family, you can do so on www.iees.ie.