Riverside community members mark anniversary of officer’s death
Community members gathered Tuesday to remember Riverside Police Officer Mike Crain, who was killed in the line of duty on Feb. 7, 2013.
In advance of the 10th anniversary public tribute to Crain, the city of Riverside released statements from Crain’s widow Regina, his partner that fateful night Andrew Tachias who was severely wounded, Crain’s father Steve and Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez.
From Regina Crain:
“Thank you for remembering Mike. It has been a great comfort, these last ten years, knowing that he is not forgotten. As his memory lives on, I hope it gives courage to all the other heroes that are putting their lives on the line every day.
“Memories of Mike still fill our home and our hearts. Mike’s closest friends share uplifting and often silly stories about Mike with Kaitlyn and I. Sharing our love of him with Kaitlyn has helped her to not dwell in the grief, but instead to celebrate his life. We honor Mike by doing things that he loved. We remember Mike by going to the shooting range, listening to music, eating ice cream and chocolate donuts. At first, doing the things that Mike loved without him was so hard. Some of these things are still tough to do, and some I’m not sure if we will ever be able to do again. Doing the things that we can, gives us comfort and lets us feel closer to him.
“Mike’s core values of honor, hard work, respect and commitment are important in our family. Teaching Kaitlyn these values gives her a connection to her father. Today, Kaitlyn maintains a GPA above 4.0. She participates in her high school’s sports program and is excelling. She is still in ballet and is now dancing en pointe. She is kind, athletic, and respectful. Mike would be so proud of the beautiful young woman that she is becoming. I will continue to do everything that I can to honor his memory by raising our child to be all that he had hoped she would be.
“When Mike and I got married, our wedding vows were to make a choice every day to love each other. I choose every day to love him still, and also to live the best life I can for him. Mike wouldn’t want me to be lost in grief. I choose to remember his life, not his death. He depended on me to be strong. I choose to rise to the challenges of the day. Mike loved his children. I choose to be the mother that he expected me to be to our child.
“The hurt and sadness never completely go away. I will always miss Mike, but I choose love over grief. I make that choice every day. Thank you for remembering.”
From retired Officer Andrew Tachias:
“Ten years ago marks the passing of Officer Michael Crain. I was his trainee at the time we were ambushed. There are times it feels like this occurred yesterday, and there were days in my recovery that felt like an eternity. I think of Mike and his family daily, and if there was a moment on the day we got injured where I could sacrifice my life to save his, I would do so in a heartbeat. I could tell you about our conversations from that night including what he ate for dinner before work. Before I was assigned to Mike, I heard about him from Ryan Bonaminio’s brother-in-law, John. I heard Mike was the best police officer John has ever worked with and I was honored to have him as my training officer. He was calm, respectful, and loved his family, and was a true role model who will never be forgotten.
“In the past ten years, I’ve had several surgeries which included my left shoulder being replaced, tendon transfers on both arms, and shrapnel removal. I live constantly with body aches but it’s not something I complain about. I’ve learned to adapt to what my body can and can’t do and I’m aware of when I need to ask for assistance. What I struggle with the most now is sleep and memory loss. I remember the night I got injured and we lost Mike in great detail, but things before and after that incident are difficult for me to retain.
“The hardest part of the past ten years for me was the mental aspect, which is trying to find purpose in life again. Though I would have things to do, a lot of it meant very little to me. I viewed it as someone trapped in this hole with an infinite number of doors, and one of those doors is the way out to finding purpose. That journey varies from person to person. Some people spend an eternity looking for it, some people give up in the process, and some people find it right away. I was determined to never give up and continue to fight as long as I have to. I do feel at peace and that journey in doing so wasn’t easy. It was tough not to harbor ill feelings and I knew if I did it was not the right way to live.
“I didn’t get to where I am today by myself. I’m incredibly grateful for everyone who has been in my life since I got injured. In no particular order, I’d like to thank my family, friends, Riverside Police Department, RPOA, former Mayor Bailey, Riverside City Council, City of Riverside, the Riverside community, all of my doctors, nurses, the medics, my PT/OT, my counselor, UC Riverside, Covina High School, UCR Police, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s, Inglewood Police, West Covina Police, all of the agencies and officers that took part in this incident, and everyone who reached out to me and/or assisted me.
“I have nothing but praise for the Crain family. Anytime someone is injured, there are so many people who are affected. I wish them nothing but love and peace. I pray daily for them and the family of Jeremiah MacKay. All love to Deputy Alex Collins who is so incredibly tough and quite the warrior.”
From Stephen Crain and family:
“On behalf of Officer Michael Crain, our family would like to thank the people of the city of Riverside, along with the Riverside Police Department for their continued support since Michael’s untimely death 10 years ago on February 7, 2013. That night changed our lives forever and we have gained a new family in RPD and the city of Riverside. We appreciate all who knew and loved Mike, and everyone’s continued remembrance. Mike will never be forgotten.
From Police Chief Larry Gonzalez:
“On behalf of the men and women of the Riverside Police Department, I want to thank everyone for the support that’s been given to the Crain and Tachias families on this 10 year anniversary of the murder of our fallen brother, Mike Crain. It is hard to believe 10 years have passed since we lost Mike and almost lost his partner, Andy. On that early morning of February 7, 2013, Officer Michael Crain and Officer Andrew Tachias were the thin blue line who stood between good and evil, and where good prevailed. But, only at a cost that Mike’s family has experienced every day since, and one that Andy continues to physically and emotionally feel every moment. Their service will not be forgotten.
“Even though we live in troubling and dangerous times for law enforcement, our officers will continue to don the same uniform Mike and Andy once wore, and to act as they did with humility and grit to reduce fear and crime in our community, while treating all with respect, compassion, and fairness. They will be the same thin blue line to keep you safe.
“As you go about your day, please take a moment to reflect on the sacrifice Officer Mike Crain gave to us all, and for his family that was left behind. We will never forget Mike’s service nor the service of all 16 of our Fallen Riverside Police Officers.”
A video tribute with footage from the gathering on Tuesday is available at https://youtu.be/SfELnrz1Ecs.