Christopher Dorner, wildlife officer got into car-to-car gun battle
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Fugitive Christopher Dorner suddenly resurfaced Tuesday afternoon, engaging in a vehicle-to-vehicle gun battle with a California Department of Fish and Wildlife officer before holing up in a Big Bear-area cabin as dozens of officers homed in.
Two San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies have been injured in the confrontation, sources said. The extent of their injuries was unknown.
The incidents quickly unfolded Tuesday morning after Dorner left a nearby home he had broken into days ago, a source said. He allegedly had tied up a couple inside and held them hostage.
Then Dorner was allegedly spotted bya state Fish and Wildlife offices in a white pickup truck. Dorner fired, and the officer returned fire. The officer was unharmed, but his truck was riddled with bullets.
Dorner crashed the truck and exchanged gunfire with the officers as he fled into a vacation cabin, where he was quickly surrounded by San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies, the source said.
The source said one deputy was wounded as Dorner fired out of the cabin and a second was injured when Dorner exited the back of the cabin, deployed a smoke grenade and opened fire again in an apparent attempt to flee. Dorner was driven back inside the cabin, the source said.
Candy Martin, owner of the 84-year-old cabin, said she turned on the news and saw her cabin surrounded by police. It appeared Dorner was in the main cabin that is on the property with six smaller cabins.
Martin said she told police the cabins were supposed to be empty Monday and had no cable, phone or Internet service. There were also no firearms inside, she said.
‘It’s quite shocking,’ she said. ‘I mean, it’s good and bad news. If it is him, I hope that they catch him and this whole horrible thing is put to rest. At the same time, who wants this happening on their property?’
Statewide alerts were issued in California and Nevada, and border authorities were alerted. The Transportation Security Administration also had issued an alert urging pilots and other aircraft operators to keep an eye out for Dorner.
The search turned to Big Bear last week after Dorner’s burning truck was found on a local forest road.
At the search’s height, more than 200 officers scoured the mountain, conducting cabin-by-cabin checks. It was scaled back Sunday — about 30 officers were out in the field Tuesday, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.
Dorner allegedly threatened ‘unconventional and asymmetrical warfare’ against police in a lengthy manifesto that authorities say he posted on Facebook. The posting named dozens of potential targets, including police officers, whom Dorner allegedly threatened to attack, according to authorities. FULL COVERAGE: Sweeping manhunt for ex-cop
Records state that the manifesto was discovered by authorities Wednesday, three days after the slaying of an Irvine couple: Monica Quan, a Cal State Fullerton assistant basketball coach, and her fiance, Keith Lawrence, a USC public safety officer.
Quan was the daughter of a retired LAPD captain whom Dorner allegedly blamed in part for his firing from the force in 2009.
Federal documents also provide new details on Dorner’s alleged attack against officers early Thursday in Riverside County.
The first shooting was in Corona after an eyewitness reported a person matching Dorner’s description at a gas station, telling an LAPD officer ‘who was detailed to the area to protect one of the officials whom Dorner had threatened,’ according to the court records.
‘When the officer drove by the gas station, the suspect exited his vehicle and fired an assault rifle at the officer, hitting the officer’s vehicle,’ according to the court records.
The LAPD later said the officer received a grazing wound.
About 30 minutes later, Dorner opened fire on Riverside police officers ‘who were in the area searching for Dorner,’ the documents said. On that detail, the account conflicts with a statement provided to the media by Riverside police officials, who said the officers were stopped at a red light and were not looking for Dorner.
Riverside Officer Michael Crain, 34, a married father of two who served two tours in Kuwait as a rifleman in the Marines, was killed in the attack. His partner remains hospitalized, Police Chief Sergio Diaz said, and it was unclear if he would be able to return to active duty.
Dorner was charged Monday with one count of murder, with special-circumstance allegations in the killing of a peace officer and the discharge of a firearm from a vehicle, in connection with Crain’s death. He faces three additional charges of attempted murder.
Riverside Dist. Atty. Paul Zellerbach said because of the special-circumstance allegations, Dorner could be eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
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