Dorner manhunt: False leads, rumors fly over ex-cop’s whereabouts
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As authorities began another day of searching for Christopher Dorner, rumors continued to fly over where the fugitive ex-police officer might be.
On Thursday, tweets claimed he was holed up in a Norco park. A tipster later told authorities Dorner might be in a San Diego hotel. On Friday, various news outlets reported Dorner was spotted driving a white Lexus near Barstow — a report San Bernardino County sheriff’s and California Highway Patrol officials told The Times was not true.
San Diego officials said they even received what they determined was a hoax call about Dorner. A caller told authorities Thursday night that the suspect was spotted near a Lakeside-area home, prompting a six-hour search by deputies that yielded no sign of Dorner. San Diego sheriff’s Lt. Jason Rothlein said officials are now looking at charges against those who may have made a hoax report.
Police across California and Nevada launched an unprecedented manhunt for Dorner — wanted on suspicion of killing three people and wounding two others — that involves hundreds of officers from dozens of agencies.
In a Facebook manifesto police say Dorner wrote, he ranted against Los Angeles Police Department personnel who he said fired him unfairly. He threatened revenge, and ‘unconventional and asymmetrical warfare’ against police and their families, saying he would stalk them ‘where you work, live, eat, and sleep.’
As of Friday morning, the search remained focused on Big Bear, where Dorner’s burning truck was found the day before.
But given the high-profile nature of the massive manhunt for Dorner, coupled with the instant flow of information on social media, law enforcement authorities are going to find themselves struggling to chase down leads that go nowhere.
‘When you’re dealing with a case that’s getting this amount of press coverage nationally … you’re going to get your share of bad information,’ said Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI office in Los Angeles, which is involved with the investigation. ‘As we know,’ she said, ‘there are no shortage of bad hoaxes perpetrated on the Internet.’
Still, law enforcement authorities are obligated to follow every lead. Dorner has been described as ‘armed and extremely dangerous,’ and officials are pursuing every possibility in their effort to track him down.
‘There have been countless cases where a lead that appears to be bad breaks the case,’ Eimiller said.
— Kate Mather and Robert J. Lopez