Calif. sheriff’s deputy fatally shot during traffic stop, suspect dead following pursuit

Isaiah Cordero, who had just graduated from motor school a few months ago, was said to be “a ray of sunshine” and dedicated to protecting others

Duty Death: Isaiah Cordero - [Riverside, California]

End of Service: 12/29/2022

By Richard Winton, Christian Martinez, Gregory Yee and Summer LIn
Los Angeles Times

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. — A Riverside County sheriff’s deputy died Thursday afternoon after being shot in Jurupa Valley during a traffic stop, according to a law enforcement source.

The gunman then led police on a high-speed chase on Interstate 15 that involved more than two dozen police vehicles and ended in a gun battle. A law enforcement source said the suspect died.

The pickup truck driven by the gunman was rammed and pinned by a SWAT armored vehicle on the side of the 15. TV coverage showed multiple gunshot holes in the windshield.

According to authorities, the gunman was spotted by an off-duty officer after the shooting, which led to a pursuit on two freeways by law enforcement. As many as 30 police vehicles followed the gunman’s truck south on the 15 to Norco. After a spike strip took out the tires of the truck, SWAT officers exchanged gunfire with the gunman inside the disabled truck.

The southbound 15 was shut down because of large numbers of police vehicles on the highway where the pursuit ended. The California Highway Patrol issued a SigAlert for the southbound 15 at Limonite Avenue in Eastvale.

The deputy was pronounced dead at Riverside Community Hospital after he was taken there from the shooting scene, a law enforcement source told the Los Angeles Times.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department identified the fallen lawman as Isaiah Cordero.

The union that represents the department’s deputies said in a statement Thursday night that Cordero was “a ray of sunshine” and dedicated to protecting others.

“Deputy Cordero’s death leaves a tremendous hole in the hearts of so many people who had the chance to know him personally,” the Riverside Sheriffs’ Assn. said. “Today, (he) made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty — a debt that can never be repaid.... Our heart goes out to his family, friends, and fellow deputies through this difficult time.”

Deputies wheeled his coffin past ranks of saluting law enforcement officials and into a hearse outside the hospital. A procession of sheriff’s cruisers escorted Cordero’s body to the county coroner’s bureau, passing under a large U.S. flag that hung off a fire department ladder truck.

Riverside County deputies sent a message among their ranks. A copy obtained by The Times reads: “Our fallen hero just graduated from motor school a few months ago. He was shot and murdered on a traffic stop. ... (The suspect) fled but was observed by an off-duty officer who communicated his location. A pursuit ensued” and the suspect was killed. The message closed with, “Rest easy deputy.”

Deputies had cordoned off a stretch of Golden West Avenue on Thursday night as a black command vehicle was parked and investigators remained at work.

The scene was near Rustic Lane Elementary School, whose entrances were also blocked with police tape. A single votive candle flickered at the base of the school’s marquee.

Nancy Padilla, who lives across the street from the school, told The Times that she heard sirens shortly after 2 p.m. The noise was nothing unusual for the neighborhood where she’s lived for 10 years, she said.

But Padilla became concerned as the commotion mounted.

“I told my daughter, ‘It doesn’t sound normal. It’s been going for 10 minutes,’” she said.

Padilla, who had been listening to music and heard no gunshots, looked outside and saw several dozen police cruisers and motorcycles crowding Golden West and the school’s parking lot. Two helicopters clattered overhead.

She said a neighbor told her the shooter had fled in a truck with a tarp covering the bed.

“I know we don’t live in the best neighborhood,” Padilla said, “but nothing like this has ever happened.”

Cordero is the 26th Riverside County sheriff’s deputy to die in the line of duty, according to department records.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service


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