Dorner manhunt: LAPD gunfire hits Torrance homes, cars


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Residents in the quiet Torrance cul-de-sac where Los Angeles police mistakenly fired on two women delivering newspapers reported hearing a barrage of gunfire and discovered bullets that pierced cars, trees, roofs and garage doors.

Police had descended on the neighborhood to protect someone listed in a manifesto allegedly written by Christopher Jordan Dorner, who is suspected of killing an Irvine couple and shooting three police officers--one fatally.


Early Thursday morning, police officers spotted a pickup truck similar to Dorner’s and fired numerous shots. But Dorner was not in the vehicle. Instead, cops shot at the truck of a mother-daughter team delivering newspapers in what LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has called a tragic case of mistaken identity.

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On Friday, Kathy Merkosky, 53, was outside her stucco home pointing out the six bullet holes that pierced the bumper and grille of her silver Acura MDX. She knew her SUV was damaged when she spotted it on television and ‘saw fluid flowing into the street.’ Her radiator was busted, she said.

Her Ford Focus had two bullet holes as well -- one bullet shattered the windshield and another penetrated her front left tire. Police officers told her husband to file a claim with the department, she said.

Merkosky stood in her driveway as her SUV was placed on the back of a tow truck. Her insurance company advised her not to drive the car because of the damage to her radiator.

Merkosky said she was in the shower when she heard what she thought were her kids banging on the bathroom door. She came out, only to realize that it was gunshots. She estimated hearing about 60 shots.


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‘I’ve never hear gunfire on my street,’ she said. ‘Or ever in my life…. I hope they catch the guy so all this craziness will end.’

Next door, Richard Goo, 62, heard the same noise.

‘When I heard all the pop-pop-popping, I dropped to the ground, crawled around and pulled my wife out of the bed and I got on top of her,’ he said.

Goo said he could hear the bullets hitting the door, and he feared the gunmen were coming through the house. He called 911 and was told that police were already there.

After the incident, police ordered residents to stay indoors, but from his window Goo could see dozens of yellow markers on the ground used to mark the stray bullets. While out surveying the damage, he counted five bullets in his entryway, a bullet hole in his garage door, two bullets hits his silver Lexus and another bullet grazed the hood of his Oldsmobile.

‘We are lucky because our cars are drivable, unlike our neighbors’,’ he said.

Goo said he knew several retired law enforcement officers lived in the neighborhood, and that’s partly why he moved there.


‘That’s why we live here because it is safe,’ said the cardiologist technician. ‘It’s ironic that the only violence we experienced here is from LAPD.’

Goo said he felt sorry for the two women who police shot and injured. It was his daily L.A. Times that the women were trying to deliver to his front door. He said he spotted his papers on the right side of the truck after the shooting.

‘Her car was full of holes,’ he said. ‘It’s a bad time to be driving a pickup truck, and it’s sad that that makes them a target.’

Police said the workers might have been driving with their headlights off, which delivery people often do to avoid disturbing residents.

Goo, who normally works the early shift, said he has noticed the women driving down the streets without their headlights on. Still, he’s baffled by the incident.

‘How do you mistake two Hispanic women, one who is 71, for a large black male?’ he asked.



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-- Angel Jennings in Torrance