Janet Kwak and Sean Browning
Dozens of residents and law enforcement attended a vigil Thursday night for a Riverside police officer allegedly killed by Christopher Dorner, a disgruntled former LAPD officer suspected of targeting his former colleagues. Janet Kwak reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2013.
Mourners paid their respects on Thursday to a Riverside officer who was killed allegedly by a disgruntled ex-LAPD officer wanted in a deadly rampage.
Dozens of residents joined the 34-year-old veteran's colleagues at a service at Riverside City Hall.
His name is not being released while the search for the suspect continues.
"This is a remarkably supportive community," said Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz. "All day we’ve received texts and emails and phone calls at the office from people letting us know they’re thinking about us and praying for us.
Steve Ballinger, chaplain for the Riverside police and fire departments, related the city's tragedy to the story of Jesus and his disciples on the Sea of Galilee. In the Biblical tale, the men put their faith in Jesus despite a threatening storm.
"We're in a storm, if you will," Ballinger said.
The disciples "didn't abandon ship. They stayed in the boat," Ballinger said.
Mourners broke out into small groups to pray and reflect on the deadly events that put the city of 300,000 on edge (pictured below).
Earlier in the day, San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials said they, too, grieved.
"This is a tragic day for all law enforcement across the country," said Cindy Bachmann, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. "The person responsible is still on the street and we don’t know what’s he’s going to do. We know what he’s capable of doing and we need to find him."
The officer was working with his partner in uniform in a marked black-and-white unit when they were attacked in a "cowardly ambush," Diaz said.
The officers were stopped at a red light at Magnolia and Arlington avenues when a man identified as Christopher Dorner pulled up alongside and fired multiple rounds from a rifle into their car, killing the 34-year-old officer and wounding his 27-year-old partner.
Diaz said civilians came to the aid of the officers, with one calling for help, while another trailed the suspected gunman in an attempt to identify him.
"I look forward to the capture of this individual so we can recognize a few citizens who helped get assistance to our officers," Diaz said. "When it’s safe to do we, we want to commend those individuals."
Police asked the media to withhold the officers’ names because Dorner allegedly threatened to kill any officer and their family members in a online manifesto airing his grievances over his 2008 firing.
The 34-year-old officer was an 11-year veteran of the department and has "a young family," said Diaz, during a Thursday morning press conference.
The second officer was shot about a dozen times and underwent surgery Thursday, Diaz said, adding that he expects a full recovery.
"The criminal with whom we’re dealing considers officers and their families fair game for his assaults," Diaz said.
Diaz appealed to the public for calm, assuring Riverside residents that Dorner’s alleged attack was not random but that he was targeting police officers.
California Gov. Jerry Brown, who had ordered flags lowered to half staff, issued a statement about the killing.
"Anne and I were shocked and saddened to learn of the senseless attack on a Riverside police officer that resulted in his death this morning," Brown said in a statement. "We join his family, friends, co-workers and the Riverside community in mourning his death and in honoring his sacrifice."
California Attorney General Kamala Harris expressed her condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the Riverside officer.
“This officer's death is a senseless loss,” she said in a statement. “His service and sacrifice will never be forgotten. Our hearts go out to his family and friends, and to the Riverside Police Department.”
The attack on officers in Riverside was part of an early morning rampage. LAPD officers working a protection detail as part of the case were shot and wounded in Corona. One officer was grazed by a bullet in the head.
Both officers’ wounds were not considered life threatening, police said.
Dorner is also believed to have fatally shot on Saturday two others, including the daughter of a former LAPD officer Dorner blamed in his online manifesto for his firing. A candlelight vigil was held on Monday at Walnut High School for the victims.