Riverside prepares to lay fallen officer to rest

RIVERSIDE – Law enforcement personnel from around the state, local dignitaries, military veterans, colleagues, friends and loved ones of Riverside police Officer Michael Crain will gather tomorrow to pay their final respects to the lawman slain last week in what the city’s police chief described as a ”cowardly ambush.”

Funeral services for the 34-year-old officer and former Marine are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. at Grove Community Church. All Riverside Police Department personnel are expected to be on hand to honor their fallen brother.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department will be providing law enforcement response in the city until Wednesday evening.

Ceremonies get under way at 8 a.m. with the movement of Crain’s casket from Acheson and Graham Mortuary at Magnolia Avenue and Jefferson Street to Grove Community Church, 19900 Grove Community Drive. A police detail will escort the hearse to the house of worship, where eulogies are slated to begin at 10:30 a.m.

A number of people, including Riverside police Chief Sergio Diaz and members of Crain’s family, will speak during the memorial. The service is expected to last until around noon, when Crain’s remains will be borne to Riverside National Cemetery, 22495 Van Buren Blvd.

Along with multiple police agencies, veterans organizations, including the Patriot Guard Riders and the American Legion Riders, will join the procession. A flag ceremony, honor guard gun salute and flyover are scheduled at the cemetery.

Gov. Jerry Brown is also expected to attend the service.

Crain was fatally shot around 1:30 a.m. Thursday when he and his partner ran afoul of fugitive Christopher Jordan Dorner, a fired Los Angeles Police Department officer on a killing spree, authorities allege.

Dorner allegedly opened fire on Crain and his 27-year-old partner with a rifle at the intersection of Magnolia and Arlington avenues while the unsuspecting officers were waiting in their marked patrol unit for the light to change.

”He was ambushed in such a way that he had no chance to utilize his skills,” Diaz said Monday, referring to Crain’s training as a SWAT officer.

The police chief theorized that Dorner attacked the patrolmen in the belief that they might attempt to intercept him before he could reach the freeway to make his getaway. The fugitive had allegedly fired on two LAPD officers on a protective detail in Corona minutes before shooting Crain and his partner, who was seriously wounded but is recovering.

Dorner, who is also wanted for allegedly killing a former LAPD captain’s daughter and her fiance in Irvine last week, was charged with capital murder Monday in Riverside County.

Crain, who is survived by his wife, Regina, 10-year-old son, Ian, and 4- year-old daughter, Kaitlyn, was born in Anaheim and raised in the Riverside area. After graduating from Redlands High School in 1996, he attended college for a year, then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.

He became an infantry rifleman, and between 1997 and 2000, served two tours of duty overseas, attaining the rank of sergeant. He was hired by RPD after completing a law enforcement academy in 2001. He was sworn in on Aug. 24 of that year.

”He was beloved by his colleagues — a good man,” Diaz said Monday. ”He will be sorely missed.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.