February 9, 2013

Police killer manhunt: 'You have misjudged a sleeping giant'

Christopher Dorner's manifesto spoke of taking revenge against those he blamed for his downfall.

By GILLIAN FLACCUS The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Steven Spagon
click image to enlarge

San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department officer Steven Spagon mans a checkpoint Friday during the search for fired Los Angeles officer Christopher Dorner in Big Bear Lake, Calif.

The Associated Press

Christopher Dorner
click image to enlarge

Christopher Dorner wrote: “Self-preservation is no longer important to me.”

The Associated Press

MANHUNT CONTINUES IN CALIFORNIA MOUNTAINS

BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. - All that was left were footprints leading away from Christopher Dorner's burned-out pickup truck, and an enormous, snow-covered mountain where he could be hiding among the skiers, hundreds of cabins and dense woods.

More than 100 officers, including SWAT teams, were driven in glass-enclosed snow machines and armored personnel carriers to hunt for the former Los Angeles police officer suspected of going on a deadly rampage to get back at those he blamed for ending his police career.

With bloodhounds in tow, officers went door to door as snow fell, aware to the reality they could be walking into a trap set by the well-trained former Navy reservist who knows their tactics and strategies as well as they do.

"The bad guy is out there, he has a certain time on you, and a distance. How do you close that?" asked T. Gregory Hall, a retired tactical supervisor for a special emergency response team for the Pennsylvania State Police.

"The bottom line is, when he decides that he is going to make a stand, the operators are in great jeopardy," Hall said.

As authorities weathered heavy snow and freezing temperatures in the mountains, thousands of heavily armed police remained on the lookout throughout California, Nevada, Arizona and northern Mexico. Police said officers still were guarding more than 40 people mentioned as targets in a rant they said Dorner posted on Facebook.

At noon, police and U.S. marshals accompanied by computer forensics specialists served a search warrant on his mother's house in the Orange County city of La Palma. Dorner's mother and sister were there at the time, and a police spokesman said they were cooperating.

The manhunt had Southern California residents on edge. Unconfirmed sightings were reported near Barstow, about 60 miles north of the mountain search, at Point Loma base near San Diego and in downtown Los Angeles.

For the time being, the police focus was on the mountains 80 miles east of Los Angeles -- a snowy wilderness, filled with deep canyons, thick forests and jagged peaks, that creates peril as much for Dorner as the officers hunting him. Bad weather grounded helicopters with heat-sensing technology.

After the discovery of his truck Thursday afternoon, SWAT teams in camouflage started scouring the mountains.

As officers worked through the night, a storm blew in, possibly covering the trail of tracks that had led them away from his truck but offering the possibility of new trails to follow.

Without the numbers that authorities have, Dorner will likely rely on the element of surprise, experts said.

"He doesn't even have to stand and fight," Hall said. "He makes his shot of opportunity and flees."

-- The Associated Press

"I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own. I'm terminating yours," the manifesto says. "I will utilize every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordnance and survival training I've been given," it reads. "You have misjudged a sleeping giant."

In the document, Dorner rails against the hypocrisy of black police commanders who crack down on their white subordinates and catalogues his experiences with racism and injustice, beginning with a schoolyard fight at his Christian elementary school and ending with the disciplinary process that led to his dismissal from the LAPD in 2008.

Dorner recalls that he beat up a fellow student who called him a racial slur on the playground while in the first grade. The principal punished the student, but also chastised Dorner for not turning the other cheek, "as Jesus did."

"That day I made a life decisions that I will not tolerate racial derogatory terms spoken to me," he wrote.

He also recalls sticking up for a fellow cadet in the police academy when other recruits sang Hitler youth songs and taunted the man, who was the son of a Holocaust survivor, and placing another recruit in a choke hold after the man used a racial slur and refused to stop when Dorner objected.

In the latter instance, Dorner filed a complaint against two of his fellow recruits, but only one of the men was disciplined and it left him bitter, according to court records.

Dorner graduated and served for only four months in the field before being deployed to the Middle East in 2006 and 2007. When he returned, he was assigned to a training officer, Sgt. Teresa Evans, who became increasingly alarmed at his conduct.

The burly man with tattoos on his biceps repeatedly asked why he was not sent to reintegration training after his return from war and on one occasion, began weeping in the patrol car and demanded to be taken back to the police academy to be retrained, court documents show.

Dorner also told Evans he was building a house in Las Vegas and intended to sue the department after his probationary period was over -- a conversation Evans reported to a superior.

Evans began collecting examples of "deficiencies" in Dorner's police work -- including talking to a suspect on a "man with a gun" call without taking cover. After much prodding, Evans recounts, Dorner told her he "might have some issues regarding his deployment."

On Aug. 4, 2007, Evans warned Dorner that she would give him an unsatisfactory rating and request that he be removed from the field unless he improved.

Six days later, Dorner reported to internal affairs that in the course of an arrest Evans had kicked a severely mentally ill man in the chest and left cheek. His report came two weeks after the arrest, police and court records allege.

Three civilian witnesses and a harbor policeman all said they didn't see Evans kick the man, who had a quarter-inch scratch on his cheek consistent with his fall into a bush. The police review board ruled against Dorner, leading to his dismissal.

"The delay in reporting the alleged misconduct, coupled with the witnesses' statements, irreparably destroy Dorner's credibility and bring into question his suitability for continued employment as a police officer," the file reads.

As a result, he lost everything, including his relationships with his mother, sister and close friends, he wrote in his manifesto.

"Self-preservation is no longer important to me. I do not fear death as I died long ago," he writes. "I was told by my mother that sometimes bad things happen to good people. I refuse to accept that."

 

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