Manhunt on for former officer on spree
Multi-state hunt for man under way
Police respond in Riverside, Calif., early Thursday morning, Feb. 7, 2013, after one officer was killed and another critically wounded in a shoot out with a murder suspect. Police were searching for a former Los Angeles police officer sought for two weekend killings , and who threatened to kill police. There were two separate overnight shootings about 60 miles east of Los Angeles in Riverside County that investigators believe involved former LA police officer Christopher Dorner, who's also the main suspect in the weekend killing of a couple whose bodies were found in Irvine. He was fired in 2008 for making false statements. (AP Photo/Kevin Warn)
This undated photo released by the Los Angeles Police Department shows suspect Christopher Dorner, a former Los Angeles officer. Dorner, who was fired from the LAPD in 2008 for making false statements, is linked to a weekend killing in which one of the victims was the daughter of a former police captain who had represented him during the disciplinary hearing. Authorities believe Dorner opened fire early Thursday on police in cities east of Los Angeles, killing an officer and wounding another. Police issued a statewide "officer safety warning" and police were sent to protect people named in the posting that was believed to be written by Dorner. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Police Department)
Christopher Dorner sees himself as a crusader, a 6-foot, 270-pound whistle-blower who confronted racism early in life and believes he suffered in his career and personal life for challenging injustices from bigotry to dishonesty.
He fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a Los Angeles police officer in 2005, but saw it unravel three years later when he was fired after a police review board decided he falsely accused his training officer of kicking a mentally ill man in the face and chest. The incident led Dorner to plot violent revenge against those he believed responsible for his downfall, according to a 14-page manifesto the police believe he authored because there are details in it only he would know.
The police said Dorner began carrying out that plot last weekend when he killed a woman whose father had represented him as he fought to keep his job. Yesterday – the eighth anniversary of his first day on the job with the LAPD – Dorner ambushed two officers, killing one, authorities said.
Also killed was the woman’s fiance, whose body was found along with hers in a parked car near the recently engaged couple’s condominium.
“I know most of you who personally know me are in disbelief to hear from media reports that I am suspected of committing such horrendous murders and have taken drastic and shocking actions in the last couple of days,” the manifesto reads. “You are saying to yourself that this is completely out of character of the man you knew who always wore a smile wherever he was seen.”
David Pighin, a neighbor of Dorner in the Orange County community of La Palma, said the ex-officer kept to himself and left his house and his black Nissan Titan, outfitted with tinted windows and custom rims, impeccably clean.
Dorner has no children and court records show his wife filed for divorce in 2007, though there’s no evidence one was granted. Pighin believed Dorner lived with his mother and possibly his sister. On Wednesday night, Pighin saw a white van with two armed SWAT officers in front of Dorner’s house and later learned about the manhunt.
“We were completely shocked,” he said. “This is a good family that appeared to be really nice people. They were really admired in the neighborhood.”
Thousands of police officers throughout southern California and neighboring states hunted for the former Los Angeles officer yesterday. The LAPD issued a statewide “officer safety warning” and police officers were sent to protect people named in the manifesto. Among those mentioned were members of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Dorner has available multiple weapons including an assault rifle, said police Chief Charlie Beck, who urged Dorner to surrender. “Nobody else needs to die,” he said.
More than 40 protection details were assigned to possible targets of Dorner. Police spokesman Cmdr. Andrew Smith said he couldn’t remember a larger manhunt by the department.
The hunt spread from California to Nevada, Arizona and Mexico, said a U.S. Marshals Service official who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to publicly comment.
In addition to police work, Dorner served in the Naval Reserves, earning a rifle marksman ribbon and pistol expert medal. He served in a naval undersea warfare unit and various aviation training units, according to military records, and took a leave from the LAPD and deployed to Bahrain in 2006 and 2007.
His last day with the Navy was last Friday.
“I will utilize every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordinance and survival training I’ve been given,” the manifesto reads. “You have misjudged a sleeping giant.”
The manifesto included some 40 targets and warned that their families will be harmed.
“I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own. I’m terminating yours,” the manifesto says.
In the document, Dorner rails against the hypocrisy of black police commanders who crack down on their white subordinates and catalogues his experiences with racism and injustice, beginning with a schoolyard fight at his Christian elementary school and ending with the disciplinary process that led to his dismissal from the LAPD in 2008.