Dorner manhunt: Sheriff says ex-cop not a threat to ski resorts


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As fresh snow continued to fall Friday in Big Bear Lake, authorities said they don’t believe that fugitive former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner is still in the resort area.

But SWAT officers continued to search the mountains around the town as part of the extensive manhunt for Dorner.


At a news conference Friday afternoon, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon defended the decision to reopen local resorts, saying an extensive search around the city found no evidence that the slaying suspect posed a threat to those facilities.

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Authorities are going door to door searching about 200 cabins in the area and are “methodically searching each building,” he said. There is no new information on Dorner’s whereabouts, he said.

The snow “is great for tracking folks,” McMahon said, noting that authorities continue to follow footprints.

The massive hunt for Dorner, 33, entered its second day Friday. Authorities are working 12-hour shifts and will continue to do so through the weekend, McMahon said.

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Dorner 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 California and in Nevada as federal, state and local authorities intensified their search.

A burned-out truck believed to be Dorner’s, located Thursday in the area, is in the custody of San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials, who will turn it and everything found in it over to the Irvine Police Department, McMahon said. He did not give details on what was found in the truck.

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Bear Mountain ski resort was closed Thursday afternoon but opened as normal Friday, as did neighboring resort Snow Summit. Both resorts are owned by Big Bear Mountain Resorts.

McMahon said authorities have searched the area around the resorts and that there is no information to suggest that Dorner is anywhere near them.

Big Bear Lakes Mayor Jay Obernolte, also speaking at the news conference, said Dorner “poses no threat to the ski resorts; that’s why they’re open.”


Obernolte said he has been repeatedly asked whether there is panic in the town.

“No, there’s no panic,” he said. “We’re very hardy residents here in the ... mountains. Many people here are armed.”

Obernolte said he is concerned that people with guns will see something that alarms them and will “take the law into their own hands.” He urged residents to “let law enforcement take care of it.”

Communities across the country with ties to Dorner were on alert Friday as the search continued for the fugitive.

Officials in Pensacola, Fla., and Enid, Okla., confirmed they were aware that their cities were listed in an online manifesto as places where Dorner had resided. Authorities say the manifesto was posted to a Facebook page they believe belongs to Dorner.

Capt. Jack Morris, a spokesman for the Enid Police Department, said his office received a warning stating Dorner was wanted and giving a description of him.

‘I’d imagine any town that’s listed, there’s surprise,’ Morris said.

According to the manifesto, Dorner lived in cities including Pico Rivera; La Palma; Thousand Oaks; Cedar City, Utah; Pensacola and Enid.


Morris said Enid police had contact with a man named Christopher Dorner in 2003 and 2004. The man was listed as a victim of a property crime and a witness to a vehicle accident, he said.


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-- Hailey Branson-Potts