Live Video: Protesters Take to Streets of L.A. Over Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

Thousands Attend Funeral of Slain Riverside Officer

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Regina Crain cherished the simplicity of Sunday mornings with her husband, Riverside Police Officer Michael Crain.

He loved food, and every weekend — even when their two young children asked her to cook something else — she made his favorite breakfast: eggs, bacon and, most importantly, hash browns. He loved his hash browns.

crowdRegina always let him sleep in while she cooked, and she’d send the kids to wake him.

Those are the times she will miss the most, Regina Crain said Wednesday, fighting tears, during the funeral for her husband in the Grove Community Church in Riverside.

Michael Crain, 34, was shot and killed in an ambush before dawn Feb. 7 as he and an officer he was training stopped their marked patrol car at a traffic light.

The other officer, who has not been identified, was injured.

Police have said the suspected gunman is Christopher Dorner, a former LAPD officer bent on revenge over his dismissal from the department in 2009.

Although Dorner’s name was not uttered by the speakers at Crain’s funeral, the anger at the slaying of Crain and three others was tangible.

Standing outside the church, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Reynolds said law enforcement officers have been deeply affected by the deaths.

“Any time one of us is out there and meets a tragic end, it hits us all hard. We all feel the pain,” Reynolds said.

As the funeral procession approached the church, it passed beneath an enormous U.S. flag hanging from the ladders of two Riverside firetrucks.

Mary Ann Taylor, who lives down the street from the church, pointed to the police cars filing past, then told her twin 4-year-old granddaughters: “Put your hands over your hearts; show some respect for them.”

Inside, officers spoke of the anger and confusion left in the wake of slayings attributed to Dorner, including the death Tuesday of San Bernardino County sheriff’s Deputy Jeremiah MacKay, 35.

He died in what has been described as a final, desperate shootout with the fugitive.

MacKay, a 15-year veteran of the department, was married and had a 7-year-old daughter and a 4-month-old son.

A second San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy, Alex Collins, also was wounded in the gunfight, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said.

Collins has undergone multiple surgeries but is expected to make a full recovery, he said.

Riverside Capt. John Wallace told mourners he was sure that if Crain were present, he would be asking the audience to pray for MacKay, who “came across the same evil” that Crain did.

Thousands attended Crain’s service, including Gov. Jerry Brown and hundreds of uniformed law enforcement officers representing agencies from across the state.

Family, friends and fellow officers described the 11-year veteran officer as a soft-spoken man, a skilled officer and a doting father to his two children, Ian, 10, and Kaitlyn, 4.

He was known to tell friends he couldn’t believe how lucky he was in marrying Regina.

While other people talked about having good relationships, “I felt mine was perfect,” Regina Crain said.

“Every day got better,” she said, after tearfully reading the couple’s wedding vows. “Every day we renewed our love. I knew how much he loved me and how much he loved those babies.”

She said her husband went to his daughter’s ballet classes and danced with her. Although he never played baseball, he learned the game so he could coach his son’s team, she said.

Crain was a member of the Riverside Police Department’s SWAT team and served as a field training officer and as a firearms instructor, according to the department.

He was the “ideal policeman,” said Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz, who has called the attack that killed Crain a “cowardly ambush.”

“I think we hoped that we could clone him several times over,” Diaz said.

The chief addressed Crain’s children, saying their father was known to be tough.

“Because he was tough, he knew he could be kind and gentle,” Diaz said, choking up as he spoke.

Before joining the police department, Crain served as a rifleman in the Marine Corps. He was deployed twice to Kuwait, according to Riverside police.

Friends and other Marines described Crain as a dedicated and talented Marine who watched one video at a recruiting office and was hooked.

Joe Negroni, who has been friends with Crain since they were in seventh grade, said he was struck by Crain’s empathy and generosity, even when Crain was just a teenager.

Negroni said Crain was a “creature of habit” who ordered the same school lunch every day: a hamburger, Cherry Pepsi and his favorite chocolate doughnuts.

Negroni said he started bringing a girlfriend to lunch in high school, and she did not bring money for lunch. The few dollars that Negroni had for lunch money was not enough to split between two people.

Crain noticed, and he soon started coming up with a few extra dollars each day, which he gave to Negroni, who wondered where he got it.

Negroni said he eventually realized that Crain had stopped ordering his doughnuts every day so the girl, whom Crain didn’t particularly like, would be able to eat.

As the funeral service came to an end, photographs displayed in a video tribute showed Crain getting a kiss from his daughter, clad in a floral dress; holding hands with his wife; sitting on the couch with an arm around his son.

The songs that accompanied it, by Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and Lynyrd Skynyrd, among others, were unconventional for a church but were among his favorites.

Crain was buried Wednesday at Riverside National Cemetery.

-Los Angeles Times

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164 comments

  • Guillermo

    I just read that all 400 Riverside cops participated in the procession. Who the hell was protecting the citizens of Riverside? Is this really the proper action to take? I mean we are not talking about shutting down a call center for the day, we are talking about the safety and security of it's citizens. I also pose another question. What would happen if one of those cops did not attend the funeral because he just did not want to? I'm sure he'd get the could shoulder until they found a way to get rid of him.

    • Your Ignorant

      You are truly stupid! Yup, the city of Riverside, letting criminals run rampant for the day. You don't know jack sh!t about law enforcement. Keep typing away you whining, complaining & obviously disgruntled disgrace to this state.

      • Guillermo

        D&$khead,

        i assume they let the neighboring agencies cover the area, but you now have unfamiliar cops patrolling an area they are not used to. Response has to be considerably slower and it's citizena are at higher risk. If this doesn't make sense, rubbing your two brain cells together isn't going to make them multiply.

  • CC182

    This man is a hero … I went to the funeral and it wasn't a waste of ANY money!!! These cops risk their life's everyday and they deserve a great memorial service. Police officers should be respected. SO screw all you dicks that post rude stuff!! You just don't understand. I feel bad for his family and friends that have to read this bulls*** that some of you are writing.

    • Guest

      I worked as a jailer when younger so i know what goes on. We ask you to put a lid on society's trash and stay clean. The problem comes down to basic interaction with its citizens. You have a condensating approach and superiority com plex. It is in your voice, words and body language. You forget to treat people with respect. That is 90 percent of your problem.

  • uloseDorner

    I hope all of Dorner supporters have a funeral/rally someplace so we can get them all on camera and never give them another job, and when they call 911 we can just ignore them.

  • guest

    Now were hearing that this officer and the two in San Bernardino were actually hit by friendly fire because of the way all the officers were shooting so wildly and they just pinned it on Dorner. Considering the way they shot up the two newspaper ladies and their trucks its probably true.

  • Cyainhelldorner

    Get some facts straight before you show your ignorance. Another agency covered the city for RPD so there was no lapse in police service. Very few agencies have the manpower to send on duty personnel to the funeral and a majority of police officers in attendance were off duty and not being paid. Were city/county/ state vehicles used? Yes. So what? Your tax dollars may have had 100th of a cent spent on the funeral. Contrary to your ignorant post, they were there to honor their brothers and support the living. Not a soul was there looking for a payday. Why are cops assholes to non cops? Because they have to deal with assholes like you.

    • Guillermo

      You are right, there was no lapse in coverage, the neighboring agencies paid OT to bring in its of duty guys to cover RPD. That's real money, they will see it in their paychecks. You mentioned the majority, which i doubt, but that still translates to tens of thousands of dollars. I know you were there to honor a fellow cop; nevertheless, it was done on tax payer money. So unless you are going to cut the city a check for your day out on company time, shut the f,@ck up. The real prick in you shines. I am sure you'll be sure to take it out on the next Guillermo you pull over.

  • Sally

    The friend with the sunglasses gave me the creeps..what the heck was he doing talking about the widow in her American flag bikini? eww and he kept touching and rubbing her back…a little too much in my opinion. He really looked like a douch