Dorner manhunt: San Diego sighting is hoax; officials look at charges


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San Diego authorities are looking at possible charges after determining that a reported sighting of fugitive ex-police officer Christopher Dorner -- an incident that prompted a six-hour search -- was a hoax.

A cellphone call about 10:20 p.m. Thursday led deputies to respond to a home near the Barona Indian Reservation, said San Diego County Sheriff’s Lt. Jason Rothlein. Authorities were able to enter the home early Friday morning and confirmed that Dorner was not inside, he said.


Officials questioned the legitimacy of the report because the caller often changed and embellished the story, Rothlein said.

PHOTOS: Manhunt for ex-LAPD officer

The caller initially reported a suspicious person, later claimed there were gang members in the area, then said the suspicious person was the caller’s brother, he said. The caller then said the suspicious person was a man wanted for murder, was someone on the news, and finally claimed the reported person was Dorner.

Dorner, 33, is wanted in connection with a double homicide in Irvine on Sunday and the shooting of three police officers, one fatally, in Riverside County on Thursday. Authorities described him as ‘armed and extremely dangerous,’ and alerts about him were issued across the state and in Nevada as federal, state and local authorities intensified their search.

Deputies had ‘no indication Dorner was, is or has even been at that residence,’ Rothlein said.

TIMELINE: Manhunt for ex-LAPD officer


Investigators were able to ‘come up with some very good information’ about the person responsible for the call, Rothlein said, and they plan to review the matter for possible charges. Rothlein said there were a variety of options for charges, including obstruction of justice and falsely reporting an emergency.

Rothelin said authorities could also look to charges filed in connection with ‘swatting’ incidents, the prank calls made to draw heavy police response.

‘There’s a particular sensitivity here. Obviously it’s not something we can go and overlook,’ Rothlein said. ‘Having a waste of resources over a hoax ... is a horrible waste of our time.’


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-- Kate Mather