Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Police hunting 'depraved heart'

Ex-cop accused of vengeful shooting rampage

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LOS ANGELES -- As the scope of Christopher Jordan Dorner's ambitions sank in Thursday, thousands of police hunted him and waited, on edge, as he seemed determined to hunt them.

At departments across Southern California, bulletproof vests and riot gear were strapped on, shotguns readied. Motorcycle cops rode inside the protective metal of squad cars. The joking morning chatter had been replaced by grim quiet.

Their adversary was a linebacker-sized ex-cop with a multitude of firearms, military training and a seemingly bottomless grudge born when the Los Angeles Police Department fired him in 2009. Before dawn Thursday, authorities said, Dorner had already struck twice -- grazing an LAPD officer's head with a bullet in Corona, Calif., and firing on two Riverside, Calif., officers, killing one and wounding another.

It was the third homicide police have attributed to Dorner, 33, a former U.S. Navy reservist who is also accused of killing the daughter of a retired LAPD captain and her fiancé in Irvine, Calif.

Police across California and Nevada launched an unprecedented manhunt involving hundreds of officers from dozens of agencies.

In a Facebook manifesto police say Dorner wrote, he ranted against LAPD personnel who he said fired him unfairly. He threatened revenge, "unconventional and asymmetrical warfare" against police and their families, saying he would stalk them "where you work, live, eat, and sleep."

It also asserted: "Unfortunately, I will not be alive to see my name cleared. That's what this is about, my name. A man is nothing without his name."

Authorities took him at his word.

"Of course he knows what he's doing -- we trained him," Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said. "It is extremely worrisome and scary, especially to the police officers involved."

Police are guarding at least 40 people mentioned in his screed. Security was tight at LAPD headquarters, with officers stationed around the perimeter. Beck himself was being escorted by extra officers.

Police are struggling to discern a pattern in Dorner's recent movements. A burly man matching his description tried to steal a boat about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Southwestern Yacht Club in San Diego's Point Loma, tying up the elderly owner, threatening him with a gun and saying he wanted to flee to Mexico. The thief gave up when a rope got tangled in the propeller. Dorner's old LAPD badge was found a short distance from the boat.

Three hours later, 160 kilometres away, a resident recognized Dorner's pickup truck and flagged down LAPD officers who were en route to guarding one of his would-be targets, police said.

After a brief chase, Dorner opened fire with a rifle, grazing one officer in the head with a bullet that came within inches of killing him. Police returned fire, but the gunman escaped.

Minutes later in nearby Riverside, two city police officers were attacked as they sat in their marked patrol car, police said. Bullets penetrated the windshield and struck both officers in the chest, killing a 34-year-old veteran and wounding the 27-year-old officer he was training. That officer is expected to survive.

It was a "cowardly ambush," said Riverside police Chief Sergio Diaz.

"My opinion of the suspect is unprintable," Diaz said. "The manifesto I think speaks for itself as evidence enough of a depraved and abandoned mind and heart."

The names of the officers who were shot have not been released. There is fear Dorner may come after them again, or their families.

About 5:20 a.m. in Torrance, Calif., two women were delivering the Los Angeles Times from their blue pickup when LAPD officers spotted the truck.

The police apparently mistook the truck for Dorner's and riddled it with bullets. The women, a mother and daughter team, were rushed to a hospital.

The mother, who is in her 70s, was shot in the shoulder. She was listed in stable condition. Her daughter was injured by shattered glass.

 

-- Los Angeles Times

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 8, 2013 A15

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