Story Summary

Riverside Officer Michael Crain Remembered

MichaelCrain692 Officer Michael Crain, 34, was killed when he and his partner were ambushed, allegedly by former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner, while sitting at a red light. He was an 11-year veteran of the Riverside Police Department, and leaves behind a wife and two children.

Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 5 updates

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

The Riverside County district attorney’s office filed murder and attempted murder charges Monday against fugitive ex-police officer Christopher Dorner.

Dorner is who is accused of shooting three police officers, one fatally, in Riverside County.

Dist. Atty. Paul Zellerbach said Dorner was charged with one count of murder, with special circumstance allegations in the killing of a peace officer and the discharge of a firearm from a vehicle, in the death of Riverside police Officer Michael Crain, 34, a married father who served two tours in Kuwait as a rifleman in the U.S. Marines.

Dorner faces three additional counts of attempted murder of a peace officer for allegedly shooting and critically injuring Crain’s partner and firing upon two Los Angeles police officers in Corona for a protective detail.

One of the LAPD officers was grazed by a bullet on the head.

The special circumstance allegations make Dorner eligible for the death penalty, Zellerbach said.

A no-bail warrant has also been issued for his arrest, meaning he can be “apprehended anywhere,” Zellerbach said at a Monday news conference.

Authorities have called Dorner’s alleged attack on the Riverside officers a “cowardly ambush,” saying he opened fire on them as they sat at a red light early Thursday.

The officers were not actively looking for Dorner, officials said.

The surviving officer, whose name has not been released, was “in a lot of pain” and would likely need several surgeries, Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz told reporters Monday.

It was not yet known if he will be able to return to duty, Diaz said.

The shootings attributed to Dorner began Feb. 3 with the deaths of Monica Quan, a Cal State Fullerton assistant basketball coach, and her fiance, Keith Lawrence, a USC public safety officer.

Quan was the daughter of a retired LAPD captain whom Dorner apparently accused online of not representing him fairly at a hearing that led to his firing.

In what police said was his posting to Facebook, Dorner allegedly threatened the retired captain and others he blamed for his firing.

More that 50 LAPD families remained under police guard Monday.

Hundreds of officers have chased clues about Dorner across Southern California in recent days, responding to possible sightings in San Diego, Big Bear and elsewhere and serving warrants at homes in La Palma and Las Vegas.

The search centered on Big Bear after Dorner’s burning truck was found on a forest road on Thursday, and included cabin-by-cabin checks for any sign of Dorner.

A scaled-back search continued Monday morning with about 30 officers searching vacation homes and cabins in “an even more remote area,” the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.

Los Angeles officials announced on Sunday a $1-million reward for information leading to the capture and arrest of Dorner.

The reward — raised from local governments, police departments, civic organizations, businesses and individuals — is thought to be the largest ever offered locally.

Investigators were already following up on more than 600 tips, LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said Monday morning.

“Our commitment is to finding Mr. Dorner and making this city safe again,” Neiman said.

-Los Angeles Times

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KTLA) — Police have released the name of the veteran Riverside officer who was shot and killed last Thursday, allegedly by Christopher Dorner.

Michael Crain, 34, was an 11-year veteran of the Riverside Police Department.

He was a member of the SWAT team and was also a training officer.

Authorities say he was training a 27-year-old officer when they were ambushed by Dorner while stopped at a red light at Arlington and Magnolia avenues.

Crain’s partner, who was also struck by gunfire, is expected to be okay.

Crain was born in Anaheim and went to Redlands High School. He went to college for about a year before he joined the Marine Corps.

He served two tours of duty in Kuwait as a rifleman in the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 3rd Battalion 1st Marines.

Crain leaves behind his wife, a 10-year-old son and a young daughter.

There’s a growing memorial outside the Riverside Police Department, where people have been dropping off flowers and candles.

“I just want his family to know that this Riverside community, we all love our officers,” said well-wisher Jim Rovida. “They do a great job here.”

Funeral services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Grove Community Church in Riverside.

-Wendy Burch reporting

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KTLA) — Before the search for Christopher Dorner moved to the mountains, police say the former LAPD officer ambushed and shot two Riverside police officers.

One officer, an 11-year veteran of the department, was killed. The other officer, a 27-year-old Riverside rookie, was seriously wounded.

Hundreds gathered for a prayer vigil at Riverside City Hall on Thursday night to remember the slain officer.

“When a life is lost as senselessly as this one was, we just like to come together to show our support,” said Riverside pastor Lacey Sykes.

“It’s hard to be able to say ‘I miss you’ when you never got to say goodbye,” said chaplain Annetti Bullock. “They’re here to protect and serve. Who protects them?”

The two officers were ambushed as they sat at a stoplight early Thursday morning.

According to Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz, two heroic citizens may have saved the rookie officer’s life.

“The officers were not in any condition to call for help on the radio. Because of one citizen’s assistance, we were able to get help right away,” Diaz said.

“And another citizen followed the suspect for a while,” he added.

Just minutes before that deadly encounter, Lee McDaniel came face-to-face with Dorner at a Corona gas station, and relayed that information to a passing LAPD unit.

“I said, ‘There he is, right there, getting on the freeway,’” Daniel recalled.

“And that’s when the two officers jumped in their car and pursued him to the Magnolia exit, where the first shooting took place.”

Dorner reportedly fired on the LAPD officers, grazing one of them in the head, before fleeing up into the mountains.

Throughout the day, as flags flew at half staff throughout Riverside, heavily armed police stood guard outside government buildings.

“This senseless act and this violent act and this surprise attack on our officers, that’s part of the tragedy of this,” said new Mayor Rusty Bailey. “They weren’t even able to defend themselves.”

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KTLA) — One Riverside Police officer was killed and another hospitalized after being shot Thursday morning by a man police believed to be an ex-LAPD officer wanted in connection with a double murder.