Thursday, November 18, 2010

Swing Shift: Riding with the Riverside Police, Part 2 of 2 parts

by Loni Emmert

This blog entry continues the story of a recent ride-along with the Riverside (CA) Police Department (RPD).

Swing shift, RPD, days later:

During an evening of routine patrol on November 7, 2010, Riverside Police dispatch received a call about a hit-and-run accident.

Near the scene, RPD Officer Ryan Bonaminio attempted to pull over a stolen semi-truck believed to be involved in the crash. The truck didn’t stop, even though Bonaminio had lights and sirens running.

The truck driver eventually stopped in front of Fairmount Park, a location known for gangs and a violent homeless population — a few years earlier, a homeless man entered a nearby residence and stabbed a pregnant mother to death.

The driver exited the truck and ran into the park. Bonaminio called for backup and pursued the driver on foot. Shots were fired. Officer Bonaminio was down.

Other officers arrived to find Bonaminio wounded. Paramedics rushed him to Riverside Community Hospital, only minutes away, but Officer Ryan Bonaminio died from his injuries, just days before his 28th birthday.

Swing shift, RPD, two nights later:

Riverside homicide detectives and police officers, along with FBI agents, arrest the suspect in the killing of Officer Bonaminio.

The news continues to break on this story, even as I type this blog entry, and we learn that the suspect is a parolee with a violent history, who may have killed Bonaminio with his own gun after a struggle occurred.

The suspect's family members had restraining orders against him because he had threatened to kill them after disputes. The suspect lived in a small town adjacent to mine, in an area known for gangs, drugs, prostitution and violence.

Swing shift, RPD, my thoughts:

I first heard the news about Officer Bonaminio as I prepared for work on a Monday morning, the day after he was killed. Startled, I wondered if he was one of the nice cops that I had met as I sat in the break room at the station waiting for Sgt. Rusty.

Rusty and I had patrolled another section of town, but the area where Bonaminio was killed would have been the area that I would have chosen given the chance. I know it well.

My ride-along was exciting, something new and different and observations from the experience fill a lot of pages in my notebook that may translate into fodder for the manuscript I’m currently writing.

For Sgt. Rusty, Officer Bonaminio and all of the other RPD personnel, however, going out on patrol every day is a test of bravery, skill, intelligence and dedication that many of us will never really understand.

I don’t know what goes on during roll call, but I hope a prayer or two is whispered.

[BlogEditor's Note: Information about Officer Ryan Bonaminio can be found in the Riverside Police Department's online press room and in the online edition of the Riverside Press-Enterprise newspaper.]

Loni Emmert is the co-author of Button Hollow Chronicles #1: The Leaf Peeper Murders and the author of Lights! Camera! Murder! A member of Sisters in Crime since 2006, she is currently working on her first thriller.


Ramona said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, Loni. I think that phrase about "there's no such thing as a routine call" applies here.

Sue Curran said...

I teared, hearing of the young officer's death. You are absolutely right; police, fire and paramedics are heroes sometimes forced into deadly conditions to "serve and protect". I am so grateful they all choose to do the job for our concern.

Pat said...

Thank you for sharing this experience. I did a ride-along with a K-9 officer a few years ago. The dog (Phoenix)was brought to a field to try and find a suspect... Phoenix kept turning back to another area. His handler finally let him go...and bang..Phoenix got the guy... I fell in love with Officer Phoenix... (I was a reporter) I never got to work that in my mystery though... But Loni, you brought all that back when I read your post.... Thanks again..

Hannah Dennison said...

It's so important to share these stories, Loni. Thank you.

Loni Emmert said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. They had a very large and tearful funeral service for Ryan this week.

Maggie Toussaint said...

I enjoyed reading about your experience. I did a ride-along in my hometown, but we only dealt with one incident of trespassing while I was on patrol. A slow afternoon. The real action around here appparently is between 11 pm and 3 am. That's just not for me. Good thing I have a vivid imagination.