Accused Riverside Co. deputy killer convicted of 3rd strike but judge let him back on streets, Sheriff says

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco slammed the justice system in San Bernardino County as he discussed the gruesome death of one of his deputies Thursday night.

Earlier in the day, a Riverside County deputy, 32-year-old Isaiah Cordero, was shot and killed by 44-year-old William McKay during a traffic stop in Jurupa Valley. After Cordero was shot, McKay is accused of leading authorities on a police chase along the 15 Freeway before crashing the car he was in and then getting into a shootout with officers.

(California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation )

McKay died at the hospital after he was hit by one of the bullets.

According to the grieving sheriff, McKay has an extensive criminal history dating back to the late 1990s.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Riverside Co. deputy fatally shot in Jurupa Valley, suspect killed following pursuit on 15 Freeway

Bianco said McKay's criminal history includes kidnappings, robbery, and assaults with deadly weapons – including the stabbing of a California Highway Patrol K-9.

In 1999, McKay received a three-year sentence in San Bernardino County for assault with a firearm and was given a concurrent sentence of two years for second-degree burglary. He was then released to parole supervision in March 2001 and discharged from parole in November 2005, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.

Months later, McKay was convicted of more crimes.

CDCR officials said McKay was given a 13-year sentence in Los Angeles County in April 2006 for first-degree robbery as a second-striker and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He was released to parole supervision ten years later and discharged from parole in May 2019. 

Two years later, he received his third strike.

"McKay has an extensive violent past and was convicted of his third strike in November of 2021. That case involved kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon," Bianco added.

Bianco said Cordero's death could have been prevented by the legal system. The sheriff accused San Bernardino County judge of lowering McKay's bail and then letting him back on the streets instead of sentencing 25 years to life behind bars.

"We would not be here today if the judge had done her job," Bianco said of the judge. 

While Bianco didn't name the judge out loud Thursday and Friday, public records indicate it was Cara D. Hutson who was involved in McKay's cases.

Hutson could not be reached for comment Friday.

Cordero had been with the Riverside County Sheriff's Office since 2014. Bianco said Cordero was a "jokester" around the station and was beloved by his peers as the department's "little brother."

Isaiah Cordero. PHOTO: Riverside County Sheriff's Office.

Isaiah Cordero. PHOTO: Riverside County Sheriff's Office.