|Birth: ||Nov. 4, 1968|
|Death: ||Feb. 22, 1993|
Los Angeles County
*THANK YOU SO MUCH TO SERENITYNOW FOR SPONSORING JAMES MEMORIAL. YOUR KINDNESS IS TRULY APPRECIATED*
In Loving Memory of a "Fallen Hero" who was just doing his job. Officer James Wayne MacDonald, from the Compton Police Department, and his partner, Officer Kevin Michael Burrell, died in the line of duty when they pulled over felon Regis Thomas.
by his mother, Toni MacDonald
My husband Jim and I were blessed with two boys, Jon and Jimmy. Jon was two years older than Jimmy and, from the day we brought his baby brother home from the hospital, they became best friends and remained so until the day Jimmy was murdered.
Mac Donald grew up in Santa Rosa and attended Piner High School, a private school in that city. In 1987, when he was a senior, MacDonald was the quarterback and led the football team to a 9-1 season.
Mac Donald, who was single, continued to play sports, mostly adult league basketball and softball.
He briefly attended California State University Sacramento, before coming to California State University Long Beach, where he was close to graduating with a degree in speech communications and criminal justice.
Mac Donald was sitting in a criminal justice class at CSULB when he was recruited as a reserve for the Compton P.D., said Lt. Flores. That was June 1, 1991.
Reserve officers go through training and then volunteer for 16 hours per month and are paid an hourly wage for additional hours worked.
"'Jimmy Mac' (as Mac Donald was known) was a very fine reserve officer. He worked a lot and learned quickly," said Sgt. Michael Markey, who is president of the Compton Police Officers Association.
"His department thought very highly of him," Bertelson said. "He was only a reserve, but he was putting in a full weeks work, which is above and beyond the requirement.
"He was so looking forward to leaving and starting his new job," said police Officer Mark Lobel, a close friend of Mac Donald's.
Mac Donald was a star athletic in high school and had won numerous awards for his athletic ability. He enjoyed all sports. Each year in Mac Donald's hometown of Santa Rosa, Ca. The Jimmy Mac Donald Memorial Softball Tournament is held to raise money for a scholarship fund set up by three of Mac Donald's friends. The Jimmy MacDonald Peace Officer Scholarship has been established at the Exchange Bank's Coddingtown branch, 1300 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa 95401. The scholarship is awarded to someone attending the police academy.
You never get over the loss of a child, but knowing that our sons name is on the wall in Sacramento, Washington, D.C., The Miami Police Hall of Fame, and the wall in Whittier, California, means to us, he will never be forgotten, said his parents.
Compton Police Officers Association has created a trust fund to help provide for the families of the two slain officers. Donations can be sent to CPOA, Kevin Burrell/James Mac Donald Memorial Fund, P0. Box 5368, Compton 90224.
All through school, Jimmy was active in sports. He was named all league quarterback his senior year, all league point guard in basketball and was selected to the All Star Baseball Team. He took pride in his body and kept in excellent condition. Jimmy was an extremely social and loveable person and he never met a person he did not like, or at least, that person never knew he did not like them. All his friends thought they were his best friend as he treated them like it.
He was recruited as a reserve officer with the Compton, CA Police Department in 1991 while still attending Long Beach State College. In 1992, he became the only family member to graduate from college. He worked the riots in East LA in '92 and would call on Jon, sometimes in the middle of the night, to let him know what was going on with all the looting, fires and all-out chaos. At that time, Jon said he would get so mad at being awakened like that, but would give anything to have his brother to be able to call now.
To our great relief, he made it through this unharmed. Jimmy wanted to become a full-time officer and because Compton did not have the resources at the time to hire anymore full-time officers, he sent out resumes. One day his father asked him which department would be his first choice to work, just knowing he'd say his home town of Santa Rosa where we live. Much to our surprise, he said he would really like to stay in Compton. Jimmy was hired by the San Jose Police Department to become a full-time officer.
On February 22, 1993, with just 15 minutes left on his shift, he and his partner Officer Kevin Burrell made a traffic stop. This stop would be the last one either officer would ever make. The driver, Regis Deon Thomas, a felon with a gun, decided rather than get caught with a concealed weapon and go back to prison, he would kill two police officers.
After shooting each officer once, and while they were disabled and lying in the street, he stood over each of them and put three more bullets into their bodies. There were eyewitnesses to the shooting and, after an extensive manhunt and countless hours of detective work, the police were closing in on making an arrest. Regis Thomas, rather than be taken by the police, called a local radio station and made arrangements to surrender there.
Feb. 23rd would've been the last shift for Compton Reserve Officer James Mac Donald. Officer Mac Donald had only about 15 minutes left on his last shift the night he was shot. The athletic 24-year-old was on his way to San Jose, where he was to enter the San Jose P.D. Academy.
"It's sad. I sit back and think, could we have started the academy class a month early?" said San Jose Police Sgt. Gary Bertelson, who heads up recruitment for the department. Mac Donald was one of 60 candidates selected out of 240 applicants for the l,250-officer department.
At the site of the killing, an impromptu memorial to the slain officers was established on a small patch of grass beside the curb. Also scattered about Compton are copies of a poem written by a local bus driver.
It reads in part: "You can never replace Officers Mac Donald and Burrell. God knows the dangers of doing what's right."
After a trial that lasted 13 weeks, he was found guilty of first degree murder with special circumstances and was given the death penalty. He is now sitting in a cell in San Quentin, waiting for his appeals to start.
Copyright 2005 - Justice For All
(Some paragraphs are from The California Peace Officers' Memorial)
(bio by: Nique)
Cause of death: Shot to death.
Santa Rosa Memorial Park
Created by: Nique
Record added: Sep 20, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 5786641