Friends and colleagues of Detective Jeremiah MacKay and Officer Michael Crain raised their glasses Friday night for the husbands and fathers killed allegedly by a fugitive former police officer at the heart of a massive manhunt.
"To Jeremiah MacKay and Michael Crain!" cheered the crowd gathered in Corona.
Usually lead by 35-year-old MacKay, the Great Guinness Toast instead honored the 15-year veteran of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. The salute drew more than 500 people (pictured below), with many more outside of the venue.
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MacKay died Tuesday after a shootout in Big Bear during the manhunt. Remembered for a "great sense of humor," MacKay is survived by his wife and two children -- a 7-year-old daughter and a 4-month-old son.
An 11-year veteran of the Riverside Police Department, Crain was killed in an "ambush" on Feb. 7 allegedly by the same disgruntled ex-officer suspected of shooting MacKay. He is survived by his wife, 10-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter.
The Irish Emerald Society’s annual event supports the Fallen Officers Memorial Fund, a project that friends say MacKay was passionate about.
It was scheduled before he died in a gunfight with Christopher Dorner, wanted in connection with a revenge-fueled shooting spree that targeted law enforcement agents and their families.
"Jeremiah initiated that event as a fundraiser for our society and he was very passionate about raising money for families of fallen officers," Deputy Ken Jamieson told NBC4 this week. "So, it is ironic."
On Friday, Jamieson said the night's event "is appropriately raising funds for both" of the slain men.
MacKay was the department’s official bagpipe player, Jamieson said. He often performed at the funerals of fallen officers.
Posted on YouTube Wednesday night, this video shows MacKay playing bagpipes during a 2009 Emerald Society St. Patrick's Day celebration.