Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said Deputy Isaiah Cordero, who was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Jurupa Valley Thursday, would still be alive if a San Bernardino County judge had sentenced the suspected shooter in 2021 instead of reducing his bail.
“We would not be here today if the judge had done her job,” Bianco said during a Thursday evening news conference where he identified the suspect as 44-year-old San Bernardino County resident William Shae McKay.
“This terrible tragedy should’ve been prevented by the legal system,” said Bianco. “McKay has an extensive, violent past and was convicted of his third strike in November 2021. That case involved kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon. Instead of sentencing him to 25 years to life, which should’ve happened, the judge lowered his bail, allowing him to be released.”
Bianco said the same judge released McKay again after he was arrested for failing to appear at his sentencing along with additional criminal charges.
Bianco chose not to further identify the judge when asked during the news conference. “I’m not going to release that name … it’s a San Bernardino County Judge,” he said.
Cordero, 32, was killed while conducting a traffic stop around 2 p.m. on Golden West Avenue.
Bianco said the suspect produced a gun and shot Cordero as he approached the vehicle.
A witness called 911 and attempted to help Cordero as they waited for emergency personnel to get to the scene.
Cordero was hired by the Sheriff’s Department in 2014 and was recently promoted to motorcycle enforcement.
Bianco said he was “deeply heartbroken” over the death of Cordero, who had an older step brother and is survived by his mother and father.
McKay, meanwhile, was later located in San Bernardino County and led authorities on a pursuit back into Riverside County where his vehicle was disabled after running over a spike strip.
He then fired at deputies who returned fire, killing McKay, Bianco said.
McKay had an “extensive criminal history” and “violent past” including charges of kidnapping, robbery and multiple assaults, including the stabbing of a California Highway Patrol K-9 in 2021, according to Bianco.
That stabbing followed another pursuit with law enforcement, during which McKay and a passenger fled their vehicle once it was disabled by a spike strip.
The K-9 officer, Sam, was stabbed in the chest while attempting to capture McKay, who was then identified as being 52 years old. The dog had to undergo emergency surgery for his wounds.
“After undergoing emergency surgery we are fortunate and grateful to announce that it appears Sam will make a full recovery,” the CHP wrote on Facebook at the time. “We truly appreciate and love 💕 our K-9’s 🐕. Goes to show that they are always Ready, Willing, and Able to assist as partners 👮🏻♂️ 🐶 in the apprehension of dangerous criminals.”
McKay was first imprisoned in California in 1999, according to the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
He was released on parole in March 2001, and was later released from parole in November 2005, according to the agency.
He was again imprisoned in 2006 with a 13-year sentence for first-degree robbery as a second striker, and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with an enhancement for a prior serious felony conviction. He was released on parole in 2016 and discharged from parole in May 2019, officials said.