An Irvine couple who, along with their family, may have been the No. 1 target of the late Christopher Jordan Dorner talked with the media in Los Angeles today about the six-day nightmare.
Phil Tingirides, the LAPD captain who chaired the panel that recommended Dorner's termination from the force, and his wife, LAPD Sergeant Emada Tingirides have only been married a couple of years, but they have a blended family of six children ages 10 to 24.
All of them huddled together in their Irvine home while Dorner was on the loose.
"There were many times we would break down," confided Emada Tingirides of her husband and herself. "We'd go in the garage and cry because we didn't want our kids to see the anguish and hurt we were feeling. . . . We had decided we were going to remain strong for them throughout this whole ordeal."
They had heard about the murders of Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence nearby in Irvine, which is not known for many violent crimes, but like everyone else, they did not link the slayings to Dorner until the suspect released his manifesto online the next day.
"When you get a phone call that someone is after your family, and then a very short distance away from your home, they already killed someone else's daughter, it made me sick to my stomach," said Phil Tingirides, who has headed the LAPD's Southeast Division the past six years.
He explained that after he received that call, he contacted his wife, who was driving a black-and-white unit back from the Ramona Gardens housing project in East Los Angeles, where she does community-relations policing for the LAPD. They then contacted each of their children and told them to go to their home, where they were met by Irvine police officers who stayed with them until the parents arrived.
Over the next six days, it became a "challenge" for the Tingirideses to keep their children from being exposed to the media coverage of the Dorner manhunt, which in those early days included the wounding of two LAPD officers protecting a target of the suspect and the assassination of a Riverside cop on routine patrol.
"My 10-year-old was able to ask me by the end of the day if the family that was killed in Irvine down the street from us is the same man that's hunting us down," Emada Tingirides said.
The family turned the television off after that.
"The information coming in was overwhelming for the kids," Phil said. "We could see the fear growing."
He spent much time thereafter on the phone getting updates on the case and only sharing with his family what they absolutely needed to know to stay safe. Board games, movies on TV and the Xbox were used to kill time.
"Out of everything, you can find something good, and we did in this case," Phil said. "It brought our family closer together."
His family was in danger because he chaired the three-member disciplinary panel that included another LAPD commander and a civilian.
Included in the manifesto is this about Dorner, who was represented by Monica Quan's father, then-LAPD Captain Randy Quan, having reported his training officer, Sergeant Teresa Evans, had kicked a suspect.
I later went to a Board of Rights (department hearing for decision of continued employment) from 10/08 to 1/09. During this BOR hearing a video was played for the BOR panel where Christopher Gettler stated that he was indeed kicked by Officer Evans (video sent to multiple news agencies). In addition to Christopher Gettler stating he was kicked, his father Richard Gettler, also stated that his son had stated he was kicked by an officer when he was arrested after being released from custody. This was all presented for the department at the BOR hearing. They still found me guilty and terminated me. What they didn't mention was that the BOR panel made up of Capt. Phil Tingirides, Capt. Justin Eisenberg, and City Attorney Martella had a signigicant problem from the time the board was assembled. Capt. Phil Tingirides was a personal friend of Teresa Evans from when he was her supervisor at Harbor station. That is a clear conflict of interest and I made my argument for his removal early and was denied. The advocate for the LAPD BOR was Sgt. Anderson. Anderson also had a conflict of interest as she was Evans friend and former partner from Harbor division where they both worked patrol together. I made my argument for her removal when I discovered her relation to Evans and it was denied.
The panel Tingirides chaired determined Dorner's allegation against Evans was false, a retaliation for poor marks from the training officer and grounds for dismissal. Dorner reacts in the manifesto:
In essence, I've lost everything because the LAPD took my name and knew I was INNOCENT!!! Capt Phil Tingirides, Justin Eisenberg, Martella, Randy Quan, and Sgt. Anderson all new I was innocent but decided to terminate me so they could continue Ofcr. Teresa Evans' career. I know about the meeting between all of you where Evans' attorney, Rico, confessed that she kicked Christopher Gettler (excessive force). Your day has come.
The manifesto, titled "Last Resort," mentions the police captain twice more:
Tingirides, Eisenberg, and Martella all heard it. You're going to see what a whistleblower can do when you take everything from him, especially his NAME!!!. . .
Bratton, Beck, Hayes, Tingirides, Eisenberg, Martella, Quan, Evans, Hernandez, Villanueva/Gallegos, and Anderson. Your lack of ethics and conspiring to wrong a just individual are over.
"Never ever did I think someone would go to this extent in their rage over the discipline that was handed out to them," observed Phil Tingirides, who mentioned he'd chaired many LAPD panels before and after the Dorner dismissal case.
Phil also mentioned he was "infuriated" by a section of the manifesto that claimed the racism of the Rodney King days lingers at the LAPD, something his African-American wife also took issue with. "I've seen racism," she said. "I've experienced racism. I have never experienced racism at the Los Angeles Police Department."
The couple decided to face the media to honor a pledge made to reporters who had called or approached them during Dorner's reign of terror, explaining they would talk once he was safely in custody or, as it would turn out, dead. "The restraint they showed us was tremendously appreciated," Phil Tingirides said of the reporters. "The media was phenomenal."
He also thanked the Irvine Police Department for helping his family feel safe enough to "comfortably sleep at night."
The two had been introduced by Chief Charlie Beck, who also thanked the media and said it was their restraint that led him to arrange today's press conference. He said he wanted the public to know the "true nature of the Los Angeles Police Department."
Beck went on to cover a broad range of topics related to the Dorner case that are taken up in a separate blog post. See:
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But on the notion that Christopher Dorner is, as some have portrayed him, a "hero," the chief would have nothing of it.
"These are some of the heroes," he said pointing at the Tingirideses.