Statue will honor sheriff’s detective slain in Dorner shooting

Slain Sheriff's Deputy Jeremiah MacKay, who was allegedly killed in a gunfight with suspected murderer Christopher Dorner.
Slain Sheriff's Deputy Jeremiah MacKay, who was allegedly killed in a gunfight with suspected murderer Christopher Dorner. Rina Palta/KPCC

A sculpture in honor of San Bernardino Sheriff’s Detective Jeremiah MacKay, who was slain by former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner, will be revealed in Lake Arrowhead Sunday, Sept. 1.

A resident of Lake Arrowhead, MacKay died February 12. He left behind a wife and two young children. 

Part-time resident and sculptor Khachik Khachatouryan decided to create something that would honor MacKay after meeting several sheriff deputies at a party in April.

“I thought, what can I do?” Khachatouryan said. “I’m a sculptor, so I thought maybe I can donate my time and work.”

Khachatouryan said he didn’t want to make a sculpture just about a law enforcement officer, but also of a person, father, husband and hero. 

“I started doing my research, talking to people who knew him personally, and I realized that he was a very happy, funny guy with a great sense of humor, full of life,” Khachatouryan said. “I tried to capture him.”

The bronze sculpture shows MacKay’s bust and torso and will stand on a four and a half-foot-tall granite pedestal. It depicts MacKay with his right hand over his heart, a beret and a dove next to him, meant to represent the life and freedom he gave to his community.

“I met his wife to get the beret that he used to wear every time he would play the bagpipe,” Khachatouryan. “I thought it was a very unique and specific thing because it’s not part of the uniform officers wear, but something very special and characterizing of Jeremiah.”

Khachatouryan hopes the sculptures presence will forever remind people of who MacKay was and what he did, especially his infant son.

“I want him, when he gets older, to see it and remember how brave and honored his father was and how appreciated he was by the community,” Khachatouryan said.

Originally the statue was to be placed in front of the local police station, but there isn't much foot traffic. Now it will sit in the center of Lake Arrowhead next to a plaque dedicated to another well-loved community member: his grandmother. The area will now be referred to as MacKay corner.

The sculpture will debut at 2 p.m. Sunday to the sound of a band and bagpipes playing.

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