As a Riverside police officer recovers from gunshot wounds, he received words of encouragement Friday from his alma mater.
University of California, Riverside alumnus Andrew Tachias, 27, was identified Thursday as the survivor of a car-to-car ambush early Feb. 7—allegedly at the hands of ex-LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner.
Tachias is listed in stable condition at Riverside Community Hospital, according to Riverside Police Department Lt. Guy Toussaint.
Born in West Covina, Tachias was sworn in as an RPD patrolman on Dec. 21 after transferring from the Inglewood Police Department, where he worked from February 2010 to December 2012. Tachias was a community service officer at UC Riverside before graduating in 2009, according to Toussaint.
UC Riverside Interim Chancellor Jane Close Conoley issued the following statement Friday:
I have sent my heartfelt prayers and well wishes to Riverside Police Officer Andrew Tachias, a former UC Riverside track and cross country athlete, who was seriously wounded in the line of duty early February 7 while he and his training officer, Michael Crain, were on patrol.
While he is recovering in the hospital, I wanted Andrew to know that his Highlander family is proud of his actions, and wishes him well in his recovery and his return to duty. These last weeks have been an ordeal for our law enforcement community, and for all of Southern California.
Our UCPD officers remember Andrew as a community service officer during his student days. Even at that time he was there to protect and help this campus. Our track coach, Irv Ray, said that Andrew has always made our community proud academically, athletically, personally and professionally.
We admire the integrity, compassion, toughness and the sacrifice of our police officers and we will do everything we can to help in Andrew’s recovery. Keep your Highlander spirit strong.
With my personal thanks,
Jane Close Conoley
University of California, Riverside
According to Riverside police Chief Sergio Diaz, Crain and Tachias were idling at the intersection of Magnolia and Arlington avenues when Dorner—coming from the opposite direction—shot multiple rifle rounds through the men's windshield.
Crain died at the scene.
The officers were on a protective detail, keeping an eye on an individual believed to be one of Dorner's potential targets based on an online "manifesto" he had posted vowing revenge for his termination from the police department.
The 33-year-old is suspected in a killing spree that began the night of Feb. 3, with the slayings of a college basketball coach and her fiance in Irvine.
Dorner allegedly engaged two LAPD officers in a gunfight outside a Corona home around 1:15 a.m. Thursday, leaving one of the men with a minor head wound.
Diaz told reporters that Dorner likely attacked the patrolmen in the belief they might attempt to intercept him before he could reach the freeway to make his getaway after the shootout in Corona.
Dorner's remains were positively identified Thursday after being dug out of the remnants of the cabin in which he barricaded himself Tuesday afternoon and possibly burned to the ground.
During Tuesday's gun battle in Seven Oaks, Dorner and law enforcement officers traded gunfire for a period, during which San Bernardino County sheriff's Detective Jeremiah MacKay, 35, was killed, and Deputy Alex Collins was wounded. Collins was expected to make a full recovery.
—City News Service and Maggie Avants contributed to this report.