Writer's Notes

A Shared Chunk of Metal

A Shared Chunk of Metal

By Gerry Goldshine

Riverside PD sends San Bernadino SO condolences
Riverside PD sends San Bernadino SO condolences

I looked around the auditorium. All the seats have been filled and yet more file in, lining up against the walls. Still more stand uncomplaining outside. I recognize few of the faces, many of them showing the strains of unimaginable grief. I share with them a chunk of polished metal; a star, a shield, a badge. Some wear uniforms in shades of blue, others in shades of tan. I look to the front, at the flag draped casket lit by a single spotlight from above. Am I the only one wondering if that is to be my future fate?


Pictures taken during more serene and happier times line a table to one side while colorful displays of flowers line the one opposite it. The service begins. Friends, family, coworkers and a few city dignitaries all come forward to tell of the impact the officer had upon them or their community. Some of those speaking cannot finish, their anguish overwhelming the control they thought they had. Others find they cannot utter a single word and weep instead. As if the tears of another are silent permission, many of us also lose the control we thought we possessed. Then a mournful silence fills the building as the honor guard marches forward in time to some silent cadence. As the pallbearers move past, carrying their sacred burden, tears fill my eyes once more but I struggle not to surrender to the sorrow I feel; not yet.


I take my place in a motorcade dominated by black and white vehicles. Strobing red and blue lights accentuate an orderly line as far as the eye can see. How strange this all must seem to those we pass, to those who do not know the burden we all carry as we make our way to the cemetery, some miles distant. I watch the skillful performance of the motorcycle officers, leapfrogging from intersection to intersection so that the procession may pass unmolested. Tears come again as car after car drives past two disheveled homeless men standing motionless, at attention, rendering a salute as smart as that of any honor guard.


We file into the cemetery silently, the creaking of our polished leather gear the only sound. The gray of the granite headstones are in stark contrast to the vivid green of the grass. Shortly after the last of us has surrounded the gravesite, from the south comes the distinctive sound of multiple helicopters. A formation of five passes overhead and as they do, one peels away leaving a vacant space. As their sounds fade, sharp and precise commands ring out. “Standby Honor Guard! – Honor Guard, Attention!” With practiced precision, the seven people snap to obey. “Ready…Aim…Fire!” Most of the civilians present flinch as seven rifle shots ring out simultaneously. Twice more the command to fire is given; a twenty-one gun salute. Soon after, we are called to “Attention” and two buglers begin to play “Taps”, one echoing the other. The tears come freely now to all of us.  Though I cannot hear what is spoken, I can imagine the Chief of Police’s words of solace as he presents the tightly folded flag to a young child. Then the mournful sound of a solitary bagpipe playing “Amazing Grace” further rends our already aching hearts; aching for someone most of us there never knew. Almost everyone is now weeping openly as the ceremony concludes. We have lain to rest a brave soul and fellow officer.


I share with all of them, a chunk of polished metal.


Traffic Officer Gerry Goldshine circa 1985
Traffic Officer Gerry Goldshine circa 1985


Gerry was born in Providence, Rhode Island but raised in Southern California. 

Upon graduating from California State University, Los Angeles, Gerry enlisted in

the Army and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. After leaving active duty

in 1979, he worked for Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. From 1980 until his retirement

in 1996, he was a patrol officer, traffic officer, and a trainer at Petaluma Police Department.

Gerry is married, has a daughter and lives in Sonoma County, California.

Writer's Notes

Officer Down-Michael Crain, Riverside PD

By Janet Zimmerman
The Press Enterprise

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The Riverside police officer who was gunned down last week while on patrol was identified Sunday as Michael Crain, a decorated Marine who leaves behind a wife and two young children.

Crain was described by a former patrol partner as a family man who could easily calm a situation on the job by the way he spoke to people. He was one of the department’s finest officers and was “everybody’s friend,” Patrolman Joshua Ontko said.

Officer Michael Crain-Riverside PD
Officer Michael Crain-Riverside PD

Riverside Police Image


“Mike was just a good person that made a great cop,” said Ontko, who rode with him almost a decade ago.

Crain’s funeral is set for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at The Grove Community Church in Riverside. Ontko will be one of his honor guards.

Police withheld Crain’s name for three days after the attack, fearing that his family would be targeted by the suspected gunman, Christopher Dorner, an ex-Los Angeles policeman who has vowed to kill police officers and their families. The Press-Enterprise agreed not to publish it until shortly before it was announced Sunday.

Crain was a Riverside County resident. His family is under protection, Riverside police Lt. Guy Toussaint said.

Crain’s name was made public at a Los Angeles news conference where law enforcement officials from numerous agencies announced an unprecedented $1 million reward leading to Dorner’s capture and conviction.

Riverside Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey acknowledged the bravery and sacrifice of Crain and other officers who ensure the public’s safety.

“We lost one of those courageous souls this week, and we stand here today in solidarity to ask Christopher Dorner to surrender without further loss of life,” Bailey said.

Crain, 34, was a husband and father who relished life’s simple joys: spending time with his wife, Regina; coaching his 10-year-old son Ian’s baseball team; watching his 4-year-old daughter Kaitlyn dance.

Family was Crain’s No. 1 priority, Ontko said.

On the job, Crain was someone other officers wanted to be around. And he always treated people he came across with respect, Ontko said.

“He had a way of talking to people … and people listened to him,” he said. “What he taught me was that, half the time, people, no matter what their situation is, just want to be heard.”

Crain also was focused on officer safety. When he responded to a call, he did it in the safest way, said Ontko, 34. He was always aware of his surroundings, always had a plan if something went bad.

“That’s what’s so sad. He didn’t even have a chance. There’s nothing he could have done. He never even saw it coming,” Ontko said of the shooting.

Ontko and Crain shared a love of old cars. In his spare time, Crain worked on his classic 1970 Chevy Nova.


Information released Sunday, Feb. 10, by Riverside police painted a picture of a big-hearted man who kept his “huge personality” hidden behind a straight face.

“He made an unforgettable impression on everyone he met,” a department news release said.

Crain has a younger brother, Jason, and sister, Leslie, the department said. Jason Crain, who owns Hired Guns Lawn and Tree Care in Redlands, said Sunday his family did not want to talk and would release information about Michael through the Police Department.

Crain was born in Anaheim and raised in the Riverside area, police said. After graduating from Redlands High School in 1996, he studied at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa for a year before joining the Marine Corps.

He was deployed twice in Kuwait as a rifleman in the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. He was a squad leader and was promoted to the rank of sergeant.

He was then stationed at Camp Pendleton, where he taught military operations in urban terrain, specialized training that used techniques Crain would later use on the Riverside police SWAT team.

During his military service, Crain was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with one star, a certificate of commendation and the Rifle Marksmanship Badge.

Crain went straight from the Marines to the Riverside Police Department in August 2001. In addition to the SWAT team, Crain served as a helicopter observer and a firearms instructor, and was assigned to the University Neighborhood Enhancement Team, an effort with UC Riverside police to patrol the area around campus.

Fatal Shooting

Crain also was a field training officer. That’s what he was doing on the graveyard shift Thursday, Feb. 7, when a vehicle pulled up next to their patrol car and a suspect opened fire with an assault rifle.

Crain was killed. His partner, a 27-year-old trainee whose name is still being withheld by police, was shot in the arms and shoulders while sitting in the driver’s seat.

The trainee was incapacitated by the wounds and had to rely on a witness to the shooting to help him push the microphone button on his radio to make a distress call, Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said.

Police identified Christopher Dorner, 33, as the shooter. He was fired from the Los Angeles Police Department in 2009 for making a false accusation against his training officer.

Dorner posted a manifesto on his Facebook page denying that he lied and vowing to kill police officers and their families until LAPD officials acknowledge truth in his allegation that his training officer used excessive force against a mentally ill man she was arresting.

Police say Dorner killed Monica Quan, the daughter of a retired LAPD captain who represented Dorner during his unsuccessful fight to keep his job, and her fiancé, Keith Lawrence, in Irvine on Feb. 3.

Four days later, about 20 minutes before the 1:35 a.m. attack on Crain, Dorner allegedly fired at two LAPD officers who were in Corona to protect someone listed in Dorner’s manifesto.

One of the officers was grazed in the head by a bullet.

Dorner’s Nissan Titan truck was found smoldering in the San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear later that morning. Police are focusing their search in that area.

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