Dorner surrounded by police in cabin after gun battle
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Accused killer Christopher Dorner was surrounded by police inside a Big Bear area cabin after getting into a gun battle Tuesday that left two San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies injured, officials said.
Days ago, Dorner broke into a cabin off Route 38, a source said. He allegedly tied up the couple inside and held them hostage until Tuesday morning when he left. It is unclear whether Dorner stole their vehicle or another, but Fish and Wildlife officers knew to be on the lookout for a white pickup truck when they spotted Dorner driving one and attempted to stop him, the source said. Dorner crashed the truck during the ensuing chase and allegedly exchanged gunfire with the officers as he fled into another cabin, where he was quickly surrounded by San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies. The source said one deputy was hit as Dorner fired out of the cabin and a second was injured when Dorner exited the back of the cabin, deployed a smoke bomb and opened fire again in an apparent attempt to flee. Dorner was driven back inside the cabin, the source said.
The extent of the deputies’ injuries was unknown. There was initial confusion as to where a helicopter should land to evacuate the injured officers, so deputies used their own smoke bombs to give them enough cover to carry the wounded to a pickup truck that carried them to the waiting helicopter.
Officers have crisscrossed California for days pursuing the more than 1,000 tips that poured in about Dorner’s possible whereabouts — including efforts in Tijuana, Mexico, San Diego County and Big Bear — and serving warrants at homes in Las Vegas and Point Loma.
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.
--Andrew Blankstein, Richard Winton, Kate Mather, Matt Stevens, Joel Rubin and Julie Cart
Map: Approximate location of incident shown in red. Credit: Google Maps