Police: 3 dead after ex-cop vows ‘war’ on other police, their families
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — A former Los Angeles cop with military training vowed war against other men in blue Thursday, leaving one officer dead days after he allegedly killed two other people to begin a wave of retribution for being fired, police said.
One of those people killed is a man who used to live in metro Denver.
Jittery police searched a huge swath of Southern California, from San Diego to Los Angeles to Riverside to Big Bear, looking for any sign of Christopher Jordan Dorner.
He’s a 270-pound former Navy lieutenant professing his venom against LAPD officers he claimed ruined his life by forcing him out of his dream job, then threatened them, their families and, in fact, any other police officer in any locale.
Thursday morning’s shootings of a Riverside police officer and two other officers came one day after Irvine, California, police named Dorner a suspect in the double slayings of a woman — identified by Los Angeles police as the daughter of a retired LAPD officer — and her fiance.
Dorner blamed the retired officer for bungling his appeal to get his job back, according to an 11-page manifesto he wrote complaining of mistreatment by the LAPD. In that letter — provided to CNN by an LAPD source — Dorner vowed to wage a violent war of retribution against police officers and their families.
“I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty,” Dorner wrote in the letter.
“I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own, I’m terminating yours.”
The fear was apparent Thursday in downtown Los Angeles, as police wearing body armor patrolled outside their own iconic headquarters. Commanders issued orders to keep all of the department’s officers on duty.
Some 100 miles east in and around Big Bear City, meanwhile, the Bear Mountain ski resort shut down and area schools were on lockdown Thursday afternoon as officers converged on a burning vehicle that matched the suspect’s, said a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of and participation in the search. It was not immediately known if the vehicle belonged to Dorner, said San Bernardino Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jodi Miller, who added no person or body was found around it.
And the mood was somber in Riverside, where two police officers had been shot earlier, and one died. Police there sealed off intersections, for a time patrolling with rifles hoisted to their shoulders.
“My opinion of the suspect is unprintable,” said Riverside police Chief Sergio Diaz, who added the suspect or his case has “no connection” to his city. “The manifesto, I think, speaks for itself (as) evidence of a depraved and abandoned mind and heart.”
Police also were on edge Thursday around the area, including in Torrance, where Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said LAPD officers guarding one of Dorner’s alleged targets mistakenly opened fire on a blue pickup truck that resembled one Dorner is said to be driving.
The gunfire left two people wounded, Beck said. Torrance police also fired on another blue pickup, but no one was injured in that incident, according to a senior law enforcement source.
Police have good reason to be fearful, the chief said.
“Of course he knows what he’s doing. We trained him,” Beck said. “He was also a member of the armed forces. It is extremely worrisome and scary, especially to the officers involved.”
1 cop dies in ‘cowardly ambush’
It all started Sunday when Dorner allegedly killed two people in Irvine, according to police.
Police identified the victims as Monica Quan and her fiance Keith Lawrence. Lawrence used to live in Parker, Colorado and he still has family there. They were on their way to California Thursday.
Quan, 27, was the daughter of retired Los Angeles police officer Randal Quan, LAPD Officer Tenesha Dobine confirmed to CNN. In his letter, Dorner said Quan had handled his appeal.
On Tuesday, Dormer checked into the Navy Gateway Inns and Suites on San Diego’s massive naval base, Cmdr. Brad Fagan said. Dormer likely had access to the hotel from having been honorably discharged from the Navy Reserve — which would mean he’d have an ID card — said the Navy spokesman.
“He did not physically check out” Wednesday as expected, Fagan told reporters Thursday, while adding “we don’t have any reason to believe he’s (still) on the base.”
Police in San Diego say a man who could have been Dorner tried to hijack a boat there on Wednesday. Someone later found a wallet containing Dorner’s identification and an LAPD detective’s badge near the San Diego airport, according to police. It was unclear whether the badge was legitimate.
By about 1 a.m. Thursday, the scene had shifted about 100 miles north to Corona, California.
There, a pair of LAPD officers on a protection detail were flagged down by a citizen who reported seeing the suspect’s vehicle, LAPD Deputy Chief Jose Perez said.
The officers chased the vehicle and caught up to it on an off-ramp on Interstate 15.
“The officers were fired upon with a shoulder weapon,” Perez said, with one of them suffering a “graze wound” to his head. The police returned fire, while the suspect set off once again.
About 20 minutes later, two police officers were in their car at a stop light in Riverside when what’s believed to be Doren pulled up beside them.
That driver unleashed “multiple rounds” from a rifle at the officers, riddling the cop car with bullets and leaving a 34-year-old officer, who had been on the Riverside force for 11 years, dead, according to Diaz. The other officer, 27, was “seriously wounded but we expect a full recovery,” the Riverside police chief said.
It was “a cowardly ambush,” Diaz said.
A good Samaritan picked up one of their police radios and called dispatchers to send help, Riverside police said.
Suspect calls attacks ‘a necessary evil’
In addition to posting his manifesto online, Dorner reached out directly to CNN, mailing a parcel to AC360 anchor Anderson Cooper’s office at CNN in New York.
The package arrived on February 1 and was opened by Cooper’s assistant. Inside was a hand-labeled DVD, accompanied by a yellow Post-it note reading, in part, “I never lied” — apparently in reference to his 2008 dismissal from the LAPD.
The package also contained a coin wrapped in duct tape. The tape bears the hand-written inscription: “Thanks, but no thanks, Will Bratton,” as well as the letters “IMOA,” which may be a commonly used Internet abbreviation for “Imagine a More Open America.”
As for the coin, it is a souvenir medallion from former LAPD Chief William Bratton, of a type often given out as keepsakes. This one, though, was shot through with bullet holes: three bullet holes to the center and another shot nicked off the top.
The editorial staff of AC360 and CNN management were made aware of the package Thursday. Upon learning of its existence, they alerted Bratton and law enforcement.
Bratton headed the LAPD at the time Dorner was dismissed.
Dorner is a former U.S. Navy Reserve lieutenant who worked with river warfare units and a mobile inshore undersea warfare unit, among other assignments, according to Pentagon records obtained by CNN. He also provided security on oil platforms in Iraq.
He was rated as a rifle marksman and pistol expert, according to the records. His last day in the Navy was February 1.
After the police department’s Board of Rights rejected his appeal of his firing, he took the case to court. A judge ruled against his appeal in October 2011, according to court records.
Beck, the Los Angeles police chief, said Thursday that Dorner’s case had been “thoroughly reviewed” and said the department would not apologize to Dorner or clear his name.
In his manifesto, Dorner complained that he had been railroaded out of the department after reporting police brutality by another officer. He also complained of a continuing culture of racism and brutality in the LAPD.
He said attacks are “a necessary evil that I do not enjoy but must partake and complete for substantial change to occur within the LAPD and reclaim my name.”
Dorner warned police in his letter to “look your wives/husbands and surviving children directly in the face and tell them the truth as to why your children are dead.”
Such a chilling warning prompted Los Angeles police to set up 40 protective details in an effort to safeguard people listed in Dorner’s letter, Beck said.
He acknowledged it was taxing the department, which has been placed under tactical alert, meaning all officers must stay on duty.
“It’s extremely, extremely manpower intensive,” Beck said. “But the safety of my employees, people that come on the job to protect the lives of strangers, is extremely important to me and I will expend whatever resource is necessary.”
A college classmate of Dorner’s, James Usera, described the suspect as “smart and insightful” — and urged him to give up.
“No good can come out of it,” Usera told CNN. “Turn yourself in and get this resolved.”