Dorner manhunt: Weapons found in burned truck
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This post has been corrected. See note below.
The burned pickup truck belonging to Christopher Jordan Dorner had a damaged axle and weapons were found inside, authorities said.
The truck is being processed by the Irvine Police Department, a police spokesman told The Times on Saturday afternoon. Another law enforcement officer confirmed that weapons were found inside the truck.
Irvine police spokeswoman Julia Engen said the truck is in a “secured evidence storage locker” in Irvine and is “severely burned.” She added that it was unclear how the axle damage occurred. She declined to comment about any other items found in the vehicle.
CNN reported Saturday that guns were found in the truck and CBS News reported ammunition was also discovered.
Despite the large amount of resources being deployed to the manhunt, CBS reported that authorities are making sure police will maintain a presence at Sunday night’s Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. The news organization said officers scheduled to have the day off would be called in and others would work overtime.
While investigators examined the truck in Irvine, the search for Dorner continued in the mountains near Big Bear. Approximately 50 officers are searching the forest and doing door-to-door checks, according to a statement from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
“There are several additional patrol units throughout the Big Bear Lake community,” the statement said. “Two helicopters are assisting in the search efforts.”
Bill Fitzgerald, an Orange County’s Sheriff’s Department helicopter pilot, said multiple law enforcement agencies have collaborated to search the mountains from the air. Fitzgerald said authorities took to the sky Thursday, but were grounded Friday by the weather. The helicopters were airborne again around 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Many helicopters, he said, are equipped with “forward looking infrared cameras” that can detect heat sources, especially at night.
“We can see any person or a rabbit,” Fitzgerald said. “They really stand out because of their heat.”
The search is expected to continue until nightfall and resume again in the morning, the sheriff’s statement said.
Police say that Dorner has killed three people and injured others in a campaign to take revenge on those he blamed for his dismissal from the LAPD four years ago. Investigators are scrutinizing a conspiracy-laden manifesto published on what they believe was Dorner’s Facebook page. The screed threatened ‘unconventional and asymmetrical warfare’ against police officers and their families, saying that Dorner has no choice but to kill to reclaim his damaged reputation.
Police accuse him of killing the daughter of a retired LAPD captain and her fiance, who were found shot to death last Sunday in a car in Irvine. While on the run, police said, Dorner shot three police officers, one fatally, in Riverside County.
No one has seen Dorner or his tracks since Thursday and local residents are beginning to believe he got out of town before police locked down the area. Still, some remain at the ready.
Roger Curtis, a retired carpenter who lives in Big Bear, said he was watching the manhunt on TV when a car alarm sounded. ‘I got the guns and loaded them,’ he said.
[For the record: This post initially said that Dorner’s truck had a broken axle. Irvine police spokeswoman Julia Engen said the axle was ‘damaged’ and that it was unclear what happend to it.]
-- Matt Stevens, Phil Willon and Joseph Serna