Manhunt underway for ex-LAPD officer suspected of shooting 3 cops
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A manhunt involving multiple law enforcement agencies was underway early Thursday after three police officers were shot -- one fatally -- in Riverside County. Authorities believe that the suspect is a former Los Angeles police officer already wanted in connection with two Orange County slayings. The suspect, Christopher Jordan Dorner, 33, is believed to have written an online manifesto threatening to harm police officials and their families, authorities said, and he is considered ‘armed and extremely dangerous.’
The California Highway Patrol issued a ‘blue alert’ for nine Southern California counties. Officials said Dorner is believed to be driving a 2005 blue or gray Nissan Titan, with California license plate 8D83987 or 7X09131. Police said they believe he may be switching between the two license plates. Dorner is described as a black male, 33 years old, 6 feet tall, weighing 270 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. His last known address is in La Palma.
Members of the public were warned to stay away from him if they spot him, and to call 911 immediately.
The first shooting occurred about 1:30 a.m. in Corona, where two Los Angeles Police Department officers were on ‘protection detail’ for someone mentioned in the suspected manifesto, officials said. One officer suffered a grazing head wound during a shootout and Dorner fled the scene, police said.
A short time later, two Riverside officers were involved in a shooting with a suspect at the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Arlington Avenue in Riverside, according to Riverside Police Officer Bryan Galbreath.
Sources told The Times that the officers were in a patrol unit and ambushed by the suspect.
One police officer was killed, the other seriously wounded, Galbreath said.
He said said there were no other officers who witnessed the shooting, and that it’s only a possibility that Dorner was involved. Irvine police on Wednesday night named Dorner as the suspect in the double slaying in the parking lot of an upscale Irvine apartment complex Sunday. Law enforcement sources said police have placed security at the homes of LAPD officials named in the manifesto and believe that Dorner has numerous weapons.
In the online postings on his Facebook page, Dorner specifically named the father of Monica Quan, the Cal State Fullerton assistant basketball coach who was found dead Sunday, along with her fiance, Keith Lawrence.
Randy Quan, a retired LAPD captain, was involved in the review process that ultimately led to Dorner’s dismissal.
A former U.S. Navy reservist, Dorner was fired in 2009 for allegedly making false statements about his training officer.
Dorner said in his online postings that being a police officer had been his life’s ambition since he served in the Police Explorers program. Now that had been taken away from him, he said, and he suffered from severe depression and was filled with rage over the people who forced him from his job.
Dorner complained that Randy Quan and others did not fairly represent him at the review hearing.
“Your lack of ethics and conspiring to wrong a just individual are over. Suppressing the truth will leave to deadly consequences for you and your family. There will be an element of surprise where you work, live, eat, and sleep,” he wrote, referring to Quan and several others.
“I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own, I’m terminating yours,” he added.
The online postings indicated that Quan served as Dorner’s representative in the review hearing. Of Quan, Dorner wrote: “He doesn’t work for you, your interest, or your name. He works for the department, period. His job is to protect the department from civil lawsuits being filed and their best interest which is the almighty dollar. His loyalty is to the department, not his client.”
In the document, he threatens violence against other police officers: “The violence of action will be high. ... I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty.”
In his postings, Dorner seemed to allude to the Irvine slaying.
“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,” he wrote.
“Unfortunately,” he added, “this is 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.”
Quan, 28, and Lawrence, 27, had recently become engaged and moved into the condominium complex near Concordia University, where they had played basketball and received their degrees, authorities said. Lawrence worked as a campus officer at USC.
Dorner’s LAPD case began when he lodged a complaint against his field training officer, Sgt. Teresa Evans. He accused her of kicking a suspect named Christopher Gettler. An LAPD Board of Rights found that the complaint was false and terminated his employment for making false statements. He appealed the action.
He testified that he graduated from the Police Academy in February 2006 and left for a 13-month military deployment in November 2006.
“This is my last resort,” he wrote online. “The LAPD has suppressed the truth and it has now led to deadly consequences.”
Dorner said it was the LAPD’s fault that he lost his law enforcement and Navy careers, as well as his relationships with family and close friends. Dorner wrote that he began his law enforcement career in February 2005 and that it ended in January 2009. His Navy career began in April 2002 and ended this month.
“I lost everything,” he said, “because the LAPD took my name and knew I was innocent.”
-- Andrew Blankstein, Kate Mather and Phil Willon