To the sound of bagpipes and pouring rain, friends, family and fellow officers endured the winter storm in Yucaipa to pay their respects.
The 35-year-old was killed Feb. 12 in a shootout near Angelus Oaks with fugitive murder suspect Christopher Dorner. MacKay was gunned down as he arrived on the scene of Dorner's last stand. He was ambushed before he even had a chance to pull his gun, becoming Dorner's final victim.
The fallen deputy worked for the sheriff's department for 15 years, earning more than a dozen awards. A second deputy, identified as Alexander Collins, was also wounded in the shootout. He survived but has undergone multiple surgeries.
At the vigil on Tuesday, MacKay's father spoke of his son's bravery.
"The thing that bothered him the most was when other people got hurt and he wanted to be able to stop that," said Alan Mackay.
In spite of the rain, candles protected by a sea of umbrellas still managed to shine through.
"All I can say is thank you. Thank you, Jer, and thank you for everyone who's still doing the job. If it weren't for all of them, I wouldn't feel as safe in my community as I do. This one hit really close to home," said Heather Bonnett, Jeremiah MacKay's friend.
MacKay leaves behind a wife, a 7-year-old daughter and a 4-month-old son. His funeral will be held at the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino Thursday at 11 a.m.
A fund was set up for anyone wishing to make a donation to the families of MacKay and fallen Riverside police officer Michael Crain, who was also one of Dorner's victims.
For online donations via credit cards or PayPal, visit the Inland Empire Emerald Society website at http://www.iees.ie/.
Checks can be mailed to:
Inland Empire Emerald Society
1040 South Vernon Ave Suite G-333
Colton, CA 92324