Christine Harper, 19, of Yucaipa, brings flowers to the makeshift memorial for slain San Bernardino sheriff's deputy Jeremiah MacKay at the Yucaipa Station on Feb. 13, 2013. MacKay was killed during a shootout with ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner in Big Bear on Feb. 12.(SGVN/Staff photo by Watchara Phomicinda)
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The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy killed by Christopher Dorner during Tuesday's firefight in the San Bernardino mountains has been identified by sources as Jeremiah MacKay, a Redlands resident and 1995 Rim of the World graduate.
Sheriff John McMahon confirmed the death at a 4 p.m. news conference.
"My sincere condolences go out to the MacKay family," McMahon said. "Our department is grieving from this event."
The Inland Empire Emerald Society, where MacKay was a sergeant-at-arms, confirmed the death on their Facebook page.
According to a detective with the sheriff's office, MacKay joined the department in July 1998. He was also a field training officer with the department.
Deputy Jeremiah MacKay, 35, above, was killed in the Feb. 12, 2013 shootout with the man believed to be fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner.
MacKay, 35, was quoted as recently as Saturday to the Associated Press -- regarding the complexity of the manhunt for Dorner:
"This one you just never know if the guy's going to pop out, or where he's going to pop out," he said. "We're hoping this comes to a close without more casualties. The best thing would be for him to give up."
That was typical "Jer," said Craig Reynolds, who knew the family growing up and became a family member when MacKay's sister married Reynolds' son.
"The last time I spoke to him, what impressed me was his commitment to serve and protect," said Reynolds, who along with the rest of the family except Jeremy and one other brother moved to Colorado. "That's what an officer does, and he was the epitome of it. He was not headstrong or anything, it was just that the loved his job and he loved the idea of protecting people."
MacKay was a free spirit, but it was clear from a young age that he would either become a firefighter like his father or enter law enforcement.
"Jer was a very close family man," Reynolds said. "I know that his sister Angie, they just were as close as any brother and sister that I've ever seen."
Cassie Summers-Silva said she remembered MacKay from high school, when she played volleyball with Angie.
"He and his family were very supportive throughout our year playing together," Summers-Silva said. "Myself as well as my brother went to Rim of the World High School with him. I remember him as a clown and always in good spirits. His family was always so caring, and you could tell family was No. 1."
As of early Wednesday afternoon, the Sheriff's Department had not released the official announcement of his death.
Rim of the World High School Principal, Catherine Obregon, said the department had not yet notified the district but word had reached them verbally.
"This is a small community and about 30 of our graduates are in law enforcement," Obregon said. "As of now, it's not official and our teachers don't even know his name.
Shoes, what looks like blood, and other debris are seen at the Big Bear scene on Feb. 13, 2013, where fugitive Christopher Dorner is believed to have died the day before in a shootout with sheriff's deputies and other law enforcement personnel. (John Valenzuela/Staff Photographer)
A second deputy was severely injured in the shootout and has been identified as Alex Collins. He is being treated at Loma Linda University Medical Center.
"We just spoke to his wife. He is in good spirits and should make a full recovery after a number of additional surgeries," McMahon said.
Staff writers Michel Nolan and Ryan Carter contributed to this report.