ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 7, 9:48 A.M.: The word coming out of the Los Angeles Police Department this morning is meant to apply to that storied agency, but it can be piggybacked onto all of Southern California.
"WE ARE AT WAR."
Our foe is only one man: camo-wearing, heavily armed, heavily trained, highly agitated, county-hopping, ex-cop, triple-murder suspect Christopher Jordan Dorner.
The manhunt for the man now suspected of carrying out a revenge killing of two in Irvine Sunday night and the overnight shooting of three police officers, including one who died, in Riverside County, has not only clogged Southern California airwaves, but also impacted morning commutes as police close streets and portions of I-15.
With police agencies in four counties on high alert, and the FBI and U.S. Marshals enlisted to help in the search, we're also dealing with the fog of war, as there were conflicting reports this morning whether two separate officer-involved shootings that were blocks apart in the South Bay are connected to the Dorner case.
Television news reports at this hour show officers in Riverside County with guns drawn because Dorner released a manifesto in which he wrote of attacking crime scenes (he initiated) and command posts and of wiping out officers, administrators and their families.
The LAPD chief has scheduled a press conference within minutes to update the media. Until then, here is the timeline of events as we know them:
– The engaged couple, Monica Quan, 28, and Keith Lawrence, 27, were found gunned down Sunday night in his Kia, parked in an Irvine condominium-complex parking structure. (See Monica Quan, Titans Basketball Coach, and Fiance Keith Lawrence Found Shot to Death.)
– Sometime Monday, Dorner's bizarre manifesto declaring war on the LAPD was published on Facebook. He names names, including that of Quan's father, Randal Quan, a retired captain with the department the 33-year-old Navy veteran accuses of
discrediting failing to adequately defend him before he was fired. (See my colleague R. Scott Moxley's breaking story Christopher Dorner, Ex-Cop & Irvine Murder Suspect, Allegedly Declares War on LAPD in Manifesto Outling Department Corruption.)
– Also Monday, some of Dorner's belongings, including police gear, were found in a garbage bin near the border town National City Police Department. Irvine police retrieved the items Tuesday.
– Wednesday night, an 81-year-old in the San Diego area says an armed, heavy-set black man tried to steal his boat and tie him up. The gunman wanted to go to Mexico, but there were problems getting the boat started. The stranger fled with the elderly man's cell phone and some supplies on the boat.
– About 1:30 this morning, Dorner is suspected of exchanging gunfire with two LAPD officers who were in Corona protecting someone named in the manifesto. One officer was grazed in the head. Dorner is said to have fled the area near the I-15 and Magnolia Avenue.
– A short time later, two Riverside officers sitting in their police car at Magnolia Avenue and Arlington
Avenue–and not involved in the Dorner manhunt–were ambushed. One died, and the
other was still in surgery this morning.
– Also early today, Dorner's ID and badge were found near Lindbergh Field in San Diego.
– Dorner's vehicle is described as a gray Nissan Titan. Two LAPD detectives protecting a police captain named in the manifesto open fire in darkness on a blue pickup driving slowly on Redbeam Avenue in Torrance around 5:20 a.m. Two women who'd been in the truck delivering newspapers are injured; one suffers cuts from broken glass, and the other is hospitalized with bullet wounds and later reported in stable condition. The woman have since lawyered up. *This paragraph was revised.
– About 5:45 a.m. in another residential neighborhood nearby, Torrance police officers responding to the Redbeam shooting open fire on a black truck, but no injuries are reported. It's another case of mistaken identity, but at last word, that male driver had not lawyered up. *Revised.
As a precaution, the LAPD removed motorcycle officers from the streets, made sure at least two officers were in each patrol vehicle and had at least four officers respond to any call tied to the Dorner investigation. *Revised.
"The only information that the Department will confirm regarding Dorners' previous employment is that he was employed as a police officer from Feb. 7, 2002, until Sept. 4, 2008, when his employment with the department was terminated," reads a LAPD statement issued Wednesday night.
But media accounts describe Dorner of suffering from depression. He sued his department, alleging his field-training officer unnecessarily kicked a San Pedro hotel trespasser in 2007. An LAPD board concluded Dorner, who was represented by Randy Quan, filed a false complaint after receiving a poor evaluation from the trainer and terminated him. *Revised.
Dorner is described as 6 feet tall, weighing 270 pounds, African-American, with black hair and brown eyes. His last known address, according to Irvine Police Chief Dave Maggard, was 4931 Sharon Dr., La Palma.
He's obviously armed and dangerous. Dorner was driving a 2005 gray Nissan Titan with a license plate of
8D83987 or 7X03191. A surveillance image shows a truck matching that description in National City. The LAPD alerted the public the truck has a black roof rack and a Department of Defense sticker on the windshield. *Revised.
Anyone with information that can help capture Dorner is asked to call the Irvine police tip line at 949.724.7192 or email email@example.com.
The LAPD is also collecting tips at 877.527.3247, through Crime Stoppers 800.222.8477, via text at 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most cell phone keypads; texts should begin with the letters "LAPD") and at LAPDOnline.org (click on "webtips" and follow the prompts).
IRVINE POLICE FLIER AND UPDATES BEGIN ON NEXT PAGE:
UPDATE, FEB. 7, 10:11 A.M.: Police in San Diego say they may have found Dorner in a Point Loma military base motel.
Charlie Beck, the LAPD chief, is briefing the media right now.
His department has ruled out a report of an officer down on the Hollywood Freeway (101) being related to the Droner case.
UPDATE, FEB. 7, 10:32 A.M.: Here are the highlights from LAPD Chief Charlie Beck's just-concluded press conference:
– With his voice breaking, he expressed his condolences to the families of those Dorner is accused of killing and said his thoughts are also with the police officers wounded by the suspect.
– He conceded the South Bay shootings were the result of mistaken identity by responding officers.
– "I have nothing I can release at this time," Beck said of the Point Loma motel report.
– He said discrepancies in reports about the color of the suspect vehicle are due to the similarity in colors of those Nissan vehicles. Dorner's is blueish-gray, but the manufacturer would list it as gray, Beck said.
– On Dorner: "Of course he knows what he's doing; we trained him. He was also part of the armed forces. . . . It's very scary." Beck found it "cowardly" that Dorner "ambushed" officers. "Imagine going about your workday having to worry about that threat."
– Beck shut down a reporter who asked about allegations in Dorner's manifesto, calling him a homicide suspect who has committed "atrocious crimes. . . . If you want to attribute that to his ramblings, go ahead. I will not."
– He confirmed Dorner has multiple weapons, including assault rifles.
– Beck said Dorner's LAPD dismissal case was "thoroughly adjudicated," including by an LAPD board composed of two commanders and a civilian. The chief pointed back to the manifesto statements, which he called "self-serving" and indicative of someone "extremely unhappy with his lot in life."
– Beck said there was no indication he personally was threatened before the manifesto was published. Asked about whether LAPD can afford to protect all officers and their families threatened in the manifesto, Beck said employee safety "is of utmost importance to me, and I will expend whatever resources I can."
– "I would tell him to turn himself in. This has gone far enough. No one else needs to die."
– Beck said the LAPD is a specific target in the manifesto "but all law enforcement is targeted. This is a vendetta against all Southern California law enforcement."
UPDATE, FEB. 7, 10:49 A.M.: Police received calls that Dorner may have been at the Navy Gateway Inn and Suites on Echo Lane near the Naval Base Point
Loma as well as a Holiday Inn nearby on Harbor Boulevard.
Officers have searched both locations without finding Dorner, LAPD confirms.
The initial reports prompted a lockdown of the Point Loma base, which was lifted later this morning.
UPDATE, FEB. 7, 11:30 A.M.: Lieutenant Joseph Ramos of the San Diego Police Department says Dorner checked into the Navy Gateway Inn and Suites on the Point Loma base earlier in the week, but the triple-murder suspect is not there now and appears to have never checked out properly.
Ramos disclosed that Dorner is also a suspect in the attempted robbery of an elderly man earlier in the week near where the suspect's belongings were found in National City.
The main theme of Ramos' remarks was for members of the public to "take a breath" before dialing 9-1-1 to report Dorner sightings so law-enforcement agencies do not expend too much time and manpower on what prove to be false reports. As a result of mistaken-identity sightings at Point Loma this morning, Ramos said, San Diego police will scale back the response to future civilian reports.
That said, Ramos confirmed that Dorner is quite familiar with that area of San Diego County, so cops there will remain on high alert. It is not believed Dorner has an accomplice, Ramos added.
Meanwhile, the LAPD says the officer-involved shootings in Torrance were the result of detectives following a blue truck that was roughly the same make, model and year as the one Dorner may be driving.
Sergio Diaz, the Riverside police chief, is also scheduled to hold a news conference this morning.
UPDATE, FEB. 7, 12:29 P.M.: Christopher Jordan Dorner's beef with law enforcement began when he complained about his training officer for a 2007 incident that was eventually deemed groundless.
Six years later, he is accused of killing a different training officer.
Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz confirmed at a press conference late this morning that the slain member of his force was a 34-year-old, 11-year member of the department with a reputation for being an excellent training officer especially skilled at tactics. Noting that some media released a name for the deceased, Diaz asked that it not be printed or broadcast until Dorner is in custody.
"The person with whom we are dealing made it clear he considers police officers and their families fair game for his assaults," Diaz explained. "We don't know if that extends to our officers who were assaulted today. For an abundance of caution, if you think you have the names of the wounded or the deceased, I am pleading for a sense of ethics and public safety, asking that it not be released. Once the suspect is in custody, it becomes a moot point."
Diaz called the Riverside incident a "cowardly ambush," and when later asked what he thinks of the suspect, the chief said, "I think my opinion of the suspect is unprintable. . . . The manifesto, I think, speaks for itself as evidence of a depraved and abandoned mind and heart. And
the cowardly way he ambushed public servants speaks to his character."
His targeted officers, who also included a 27-year-old cop who was seriously wounded but is expected to make a full recovery, were in uniform and sitting in a marked, black-and-white unit when the driver of a truck pulled up, exited the vehicle, took out a rifle and fired multiple shots.
While the officers were not at that time working the Dorner case, they had been made aware through police broadcasts throughout Southern California that the suspect was armed, dangerous and on the loose, explained Diaz, who made a point of reassuring Riverside residents that his officers or agency are not specifically being targeted. It is believed Dorner was just passing through Riverside after an earlier officer-involved shooting in Corona that grazed the head of an LAPD officer.
An LAPD veteran before moving to the Riverside city agency, Diaz said he had never heard of Dorner, pointing out the chief was not named in the manifesto.
Diaz said the families of the wounded and deceased officers have been notified.
Representatives from LAPD and the Riverside County district attorney's office also addressed the media. Michael Abel, Corona's police chief, denied reports that Dorner had previously been stopped and released in his city.
Diaz concluded by saying once Dorner is apprehended, he will be happy to share with the media the heroics of Riverside residents in connection with the attack on his officers. But he noted time is of the essence because of Southern California's complex freeway system and the speeds at which Dorner could be driving. "It's a wide net," Diaz said. "We will use all the tools at our disposal to bring this individual to justice."
The crime spree has prompted "certain modifications to deployment, deviations today," he added. "I want to leave it at that. And also the response: We will be responding to calls for service that are high priority. We will not be going on parking calls today."
Diaz said his role in all this is clear: "We have a lot of tasks and missions to accomplish when something like this happens. We have to give the appropriate send-off to our fallen brother. For me, personally, what I have to do is take care of the families. I will do that. They are our families, too."
UPDATE, FEB. 7, 12:47 P.M.: KNBC/Channel 4's news helicopter is right now over a burned truck with a roof rack in the Big Bear area.
It is such a remote, rugged area that ground officers have yet to reach the vehicle.
However, the station's helicopter reporter claims an unidentified deputy said the burned truck fits Dorner's vehicle description "to a tee."
UPDATE, FEB. 7, 1:11 P.M.: San Bernardino County SWAT team members have been deployed to Big Bear, where Dorner is suspected of possibly being holed up, the Inland Empire agency's spokeswoman, Jodi Miller, confirms.
UPDATE, FEB. 7, 1:30 P.M.: Black Forest Lodge owner Rita Wilson tells KTLA/Channel 5 news that Big Bear hotel and motel owners are warning one another about Dorner possibly trying to get lodging.
Taxi service has been temporarily suspended in the popular winter-resort village, Wilson adds.
A law-enforcement command post has been set up at Bear Mountain ski resort, which remains open. Eight armed, armored SWAT officers have boarded a helicopter that just took off.
Bear Valley Unified School District schools are on lockdown.
UPDATE, FEB. 7, 1:45 P.M.: San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Jodi Miller confirms the SWAT officers who just exited a helicopter that touched down in a remote area of Big Bear are from her agency.
Miller added there have been no reports of Dorner sightings in the area, saying only that deputies are trying to locate the owner of a badly burned truck discovered around 8 a.m. off Crestview near Snow Summit ski resort.
She could not confirm whether the plate number on the truck matched Dorner's.
UPDATE, FEB. 7, 2:07 P.M.: Dorner's manifesto published on Facebook mostly deals with officers and bosses he says wronged him at LAPD. There are also these passages that mention Orange County or Long Beach:
If possible, I want my brain preserved for science/research to study the effects of severe depression on an individual's brain. Since 6/26/08 when I was relieved of duty and 1/2/09 when I was terminated I have been afflicted with severe depression. I've had two CT scans during my lifetime that are in my medical record at Kaiser Permanente. Both are from concussions resulting from playing football. The first one was in high school, 10/96. The second was in college and occurred in 10/99. Both were conducted at Kaiser Permanente hospitals in LA/Orange county. These two CT scans should give a good baseline for my brain activity before severe depression began in late 2008.
Below is a list of locations where I resided from childhood to adulthood.
Pico Rivera, CA.
La Palma, CA.
Thousand Oaks, CA.
Cedar City, UT.
Yorba Linda, CA.
Las Vegas, NV.
During my two months of working patrol with [NAME WITHHELD], I found her as a woman who was very angry that she had been pulled from patrol for a short time because of a domestic violence report made by Long Beach Police Department because of an incident involving her active LAPD officer boyfriend, [NAME WITHHELD], and herself. [He] is the same officer investigated for witness tampering.
Dr. [NAME WITHHELD], thank you for the superb surgery you performed on my knee on 7/98 in Irvine, CA. I never had the opportunity to thank you for allowing me to live a life free of knee joint pain. Thank you.
Those Black officers in supervisory ranks and pay grades who stay in south bureau (even though you live in the valley or OC) for the sole intent of getting retribution toward subordinate caucasians officers for the pain and hostile work environment their elders inflicted on you as probationers (P-1′s) and novice P-2′s. You are a high value target. You perpetuated the cycle of racism in the department as well. You breed a new generation of bigoted caucasian officer when you belittle them and treat them unfairly.
Links to the manifesto are on a Facebook page created in Dorner's "honor" that includes this photo of the "hero":
Bear Mountain and Snow Summit ski resorts, which are owned and operated by the same company, have shut down their ski lifts and handed out make-up passes to ticket-holders, according to KTLA/Channel 5 news, which adds deputies are looking into vehicles as they leave the resort lots.
SEE UPDATES OF THE SEARCH FOR DORNER IN BIG BEAR ON THE NEXT PAGE.[
Deputies on the ground in rugged terrain were also overheard saying they will need skis and snowshoes to continue their search.
UPDATE, FEB. 7, 2:47 P.M.: A prayer vigil will be held for the slain police officer at 6 tonight at Riverside City Hall, 3900 Main St., Riverside.
Meanwhile, at the Big Bear manhunt site, darkness is hours away and a winter-storm warning has been
forecast for the area where temperatures are expected to dip to 20
degrees Fahrenheit overnight.
UPDATE, FEB. 7, 3:48 P.M.: San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon just wrapped up a news conference in which he confirmed the truck found belonged to Dorner, that door-to-door searches of every residence in Big Bear are ongoing, and law enforcement is at the base of the hill at highways 18 and 38 to check each vehicle leaving the mountains.
McMahon said the burned truck was confirmed to be Dorner's at 2:30 p.m. A tow truck arrived around 3:15 p.m. to pull the wreckage from its remote perch. McMahon confirmed Dorner was not inside the cab, but the sheriff would not reveal what was contained in it.
On whether Dorner is in the area, he's familiar with it because of military R&R facilities nearby or the truck fire was a diversion, McMahon answered the same: "Anything's possible."
There had been reports of shots fired in the Big Bear area earlier today, but McMahon could not confirm those.
About 50 law-enforcement vehicles from various local, state and federal agencies have now converged on the Bear Mountain ski resort command post.
KCAL/Channel 9 TV news says it has received "unprecedented" demands from law enforcement to have its news helicopters pull back and not focus cameras on officers conducting the search in Big Bear.
UPDATE, FEB. 7, 5:50 P.M.: San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said he assumes Dorner is still in the Big Bear area, and the 125 law enforcement officers from various agencies will continue to search residences and remote regions until something indicates the suspect is not in the area.
At a just-concluded press conference, McMahon disclosed officers were able to follow tracks leading away from the burned truck, but they did not lead to Dorner. Pressed about the direction of those tracks, the sheriff said they did not lead to residences but a remote area.
The Orange County Sheriff's and Irvine Police departments are among the agencies up on the mountain participating in the search. Irvine officers will also help with the processing of Dorner's truck, which just got under way.
McMahon said the search will continue all night or as long as weather permits, as a storm is coming. So far, the snow has not adversely effected bloodhounds and the white stuff has helped when it comes to tracking, he added.
The sheriff repeated that trackers fear "baiting" may be going on, meaning Dorner is trying to get them into an area where he can fire on them. These fears escalate because of the suspect's police and military training, McMahon added. "This is a very dangerous individual," he said.
Tips about Dorner's whereabouts have been flooding in from all over the state, but no one in Big Bear has reported seeing him, according to the sheriff.
UPDATE, FEB. 7, 9:25 P.M.: A San Bernardino County Sheriff's spokeswoman, who seemed to know not much more than reporters firing questions at her, indicated the search for Dorner continues at this hour, about 400 Big Bear residences have been checked out and aircraft with heat-seeking technology are flying overhead. *Revised.
But it's what she also said that may be the strongest indication the triple-homicide suspect is not in Big Bear: schools and the Snow Summit and Bear Mountain ski resorts will reopen tomorrow morning.
Meaning business as usual, meaning it's unlikely law enforcement believes Dorner is in the area, if he's even been there at all.
The spokeswoman said tracks in the snow are the strongest clues trackers have to go on–and then said she knew of no other tracks other than the ones the sheriff mentioned earlier near the burned truck.
Meanwhile, temperatures dropping, a storm is coming and if Dorner is not in Big Bear, Southern California cops are going to be sleeping with one eye open tonight.
UPDATE, FEB. 8, 7:35 A.M.: The California Highway Patrol just issued an advisory saying Dorner may be driving a white Lexus that was spotted in the Barstow area.
The car might also be a Volvo, according to the special notice.
The Bear Valley Unified School District had already announced earlier its schools will close due to the continued manhunt. The Rim of the World Unified School District, which is also in the San Bernardino Mountains, is also closing its schools but that is due to storm conditions.
The Norwalk Christian School that introduced Dorner to racism, according to his manifesto, also closed as a precaution.
CBS News correspondent John Miller, a former top LAPD official,
noted on air Dorner cut off all his cell phones and other connections
Jan. 31, which feeds into a theory a former FBI tracker is proposing up and down the dial: the ex-cop likely planned his militaristic revenge plot for months.
Former LAPD chief William Bratton has said, through CNN, that he
believes the suspect's burned truck left on an access road between the
Snow Summit and Bear Mountain resorts was a diversion.
Anderson Cooper interviewed Bratton Thursday evening because of what the snow-haired CNN anchor received in the mail on Feb. 1: a package from Dorner containing a sticky note stating the ex-cop did not lie, a DVD with "exoneration" scrawled on it and a "Challenge Coin" the ex-LAPD chief gave to his cops headed overseas on military reserve deployments. Holes through the badge emblem in the middle of the coin indicated Dorner had shot it up–"Probably a .22," Bratton guessed–and scrawled on duct tape in the Cooper package was a message to the ex-chief: "Thanks but no thanks Will Bratton."
Bratton does not recall meeting Dorner, despite a widely publicized photo of the two shaking hands, but he's certain the ex-cop is "an incredibly dangerous individual." Besides Dorner's police training, he earned a rifle marksman ribbon and pistol expert medal while assigned to a naval undersea warfare unit and various aviation training
units, serving in Bahrain in 2006 and 2007.
you see that that coin that was given in friendship and respect has
three bullet holes," Bratton told CBS Morning News today, "it's certainly very chilling."
You want chilling? Dorner's manifesto vows to "utilize every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordinance and survival training I've been given."
In another new development closer that's actually within our coverage area, it turns out Dorner was briefly married to an undercover narcotics officer living in Long Beach. They married in Las Vegas in April 2007 and jointly filed for divorce a month later. But neighbors say Dorner frequently visited the home and took care of the landscaping, having last been seen there a couple months ago.
UPDATE, FEB. 8, 8:34 A.M.: The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, which is coordinating the multi-agency search for Dorner, says trackers are zeroing in on a wooded area about a mile away from their Bear Mountain ski resort command post, reports KTLA/Channel 5.
The aerial search has been suspended due to weather conditions, however, as heavy snow falls on Big Bear.
A 9 a.m. press conference has been scheduled.
UPDATE, FEB. 8, 9:28 A.M.: At a just-concluded press conference, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said that despite the weather in Big Bear, law enforcement has everything they need to keep the community safe and "catch this guy."
More than 100 officers from various agencies tracking Dorner have the clothing, gear and vehicles they need to continue searching for the triple-homicide suspect, emphasizing snowcats and armored vehicles with chains are reaching remote mountain roads.
"We will continue searching until we discover he left the mountain or we find him," McMahon said. ". . . We're doing whatever we can to keep people safe and catch this guy."
He acknowledged Dorner had time since his burning truck was discovered yesterday to leave the mountain but added there are a couple other places in the woods his searchers have not yet reached. He noted there are abandoned cabins up on the mountain the suspect could be holed up in. The sheriff would not talk in specifics about earlier media reports that had trackers focused on a specific wooded area about a mile from his command center.
Pressed about tracks that led away from the burned truck, he said trackers followed them as far as they could before the markings disappeared on frozen ground.
Not all village residences have been searched, according to McMahon, adding, "There is no indication he has come down to the community at all."
The sheriff praised the way officers from different agencies are cooperating in the search. "We're all working side by side to solve this."
He said an earlier sighting about Dorner being in a white Lexus in Barstow proved false. The CHP has since backed away from its advisory about the sighting as well.
UPDATE, FEB. 8, 9:57 A.M.: City News Service reports triple-homicide suspect Chris Dorner was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy last Friday, Feb. 1.
That's the same day Anderson Cooper received his creepy package from Dorner, two days before Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence were murdered in cold blood in Irvine and six days before the Riverside police officer was fatally shot.
According to the Navy:
– Dorner joined the branch on July 3, 2002.
– He achieved the rank of lieutenant on Aug. 1, 2006.
– He was stationed primarily in the San Diego area and served six months in Bahrain, from November 2006 to April 2007.
– Dorner was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Medal, the Navy Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with "M" Device, a Rifle Marksman Ribbon and a Pistol Expert Medal.
One thing the Navy has not disclosed: why Dorner was discharged.
UPDATE, FEB. 8, 10:18 A.M.: The downtown Los Angeles Twin Towers jail building has been surrounded by police in helmets following a reported Dorner spotting in the parking lot there this morning.
Officers on the street are not letting anyone in, including those reporting to be incarcerated.
Developing . . .
UPDATE, FEB. 8, 11:01 A.M.: It was a worker sighting someone who fit Dorner's description that led to the downtown Los Angeles Twin Towers jail
building being placed on lockdown and surrounding streets being closed to traffic.
It's worth noticing that earlier spottings of Dorner in Barstow and Barona Casino in San Diego County ultimately proved false.
UPDATE, FEB. 8, 11:31 A.M.: A "modified" lockdown of the Twin Towers jail has been lifted, KABC/Channel 7 reports.
The Dorner sighting there has not been officially confirmed, the station adds. One reason for concern, according to an LA County sheriff's spokesman: Dorner's ex-wife (of Long Beach) currently works at that jail.
UPDATE, FEB. 8, 12:14 P.M.: With snowflakes sticking to his cropped head, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said at a just-concluded press conference, "Our guys are making great progress" in the search for Dorner in Big Bear, but the top cop has "no new information" on the suspect's whereabouts.
"We're having no problems getting to the areas we need to search," said McMahon, who added all residences have been checked out. The sheriff said the manhunt will continue through the weekend if necessary.
A final press briefing today by McMahon is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Before the press conference, authorities disclosed Dorner has no special military survivalist training.
Bill Jahn, the mayor of the city of Big Bear Lake, after being introduced by the sheriff, said ski resorts are operating normally and he's confident his constituents are being adequately protected. Jahn encouraged continued patronage of Big Bear merchants.
UPDATE, FEB. 8, 1:13 P.M.: A search warrant was served at Chris Dorner's last known address at 4931 Sharon Dr., La Palma, according to authorities.
Officers in flak jackets are still outside the home at this time.
Earlier media reports stated Dorner resided with his mother in La Palma.
An LAPD tactical alert that had been lifted early this morning was later reinstated due to reports of Dorner sightings throughout Southern California today.
UPDATE, FEB. 8, 2:10 P.M.: Lieutenant Bill Whalen of the Irvine Police Department says officers from his agency, La Palma, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals office will be at the La Palma home for the next several hours as they remove possible evidence, including computer hard drives, that can help lead to Dorner.
Orange County's computer forensics lab will receive computer items, Whalen adds.
The triple-homicide suspect's mother and sister were questioned inside the home, KCLA/Channel 9 reports.
The FBI previously disclosed no weapons were found in a search of a Las Vegas home owned by Dorner.
UPDATE, FEB. 8, 3:47 P.M.: The Irvine Police Department just released the most recent known photos of Chris Dorner:
"Through follow-up investigation this recent image of Dorner was obtained
from surveillance video of an Orange County hotel," reads a statement Irvine Police Lieutenant Julia Engen emailed to the media. "The image is the most recent
available depicting Dorner's [appearance]. It was taken on Jan. 28, 2013. The
purpose of distributing this image is to share how Dorner appeared in the recent
Anyone with information regarding Dorner's whereabouts is asked to
call 9-1-1 immediately.
UPDATE, FEB. 8, 4:19 P.M.: The mother of triple-homicide suspect Chris Dorner owns property in the San Bernardino Mountains, a San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman confirmed at a press conference.
Cindy Bachman said the undeveloped property with no structures on it is 35 miles from her Bear Mountain ski resort command post, near Lake Arrowhead. Law enforcement checked the land and found no signs of Dorner or anyone else having been there.
Trackers also got on some tracks in the snow, but it was determined to be the tracks of cross-country skiers, according to Bachman, who added a remote cabin discovered about 6 miles from the command post had a kicked-in door and that the damage turned out to be old. No one had been in there for quite some time, she said.
She said the search will end after nightfall and pick up again Saturday. A dozen two-man units will patrol Big Bear tonight, she added. "We're going to keep looking until we determine he's not here," Bachman said.
Asked if law enforcement believes Dorner is still on the mountain, she answered, "It's possible"–which was the same answer she gave to the question of whether it's believed he left the area long ago.
Bachman said she had not been briefed about media reports that Dorner received survivalist training in Alaska. And, speaking of cold places, that's the only thing about Big Bear that is bothering the trackers.
""The level of frustration is it's just taking longer to do what they do best; that's their only frustration," she said. "The snow is really slowing them down, and there was no air support today."
UPDATE, FEB. 9, 12:50 P.M.: CBS News reports Dorner's burned truck sustained a broken axle and contained two assault rifles, a Glock and survival gear that lead authorities to assume he's still up on the mountain in Big Bear, where the manhunt resumed this morning with aerial support.
UPDATE, FEB. 10, 10:25 A.M.: The Irvine Police Department announced a joint task force has been formed to find Dorner as the Big Bear manhunt begins its fourth day.
"A Task force has been established including the following agencies Irvine Police Department, Riverside Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshall Service, Los Angeles Police Department and other allied agencies," reads an Irvine police statement, which perhaps tellingly leaves out a direct reference to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, which had been heading up the search.
"The Dorner Task Force has combined investigative resources that will lead to the capture of Christopher Dorner," the IPD statement continues. "Authorities are urging the public to provide information that will assist in locating Dorner as soon as possible."
Tips are being collected at 213.486.6860 and through CrimeStoppers at 1.800.222.TIPS (800.222.8477), although if you see Dorner you're asked to immediately call 9-1-1.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Department announced a 1 p.m. press conference has been set to discuss a reward leading to finding Dorner.
On Saturday, LAPD revealed it will launch a sweeping investigation into Dorner's complaints as outlined in his infamous manifesto, which extends beyond his allegations he was unjustly dismissed from the agency. Officials say this is not being done to legitimize Dorner's actions, but rather to reassure the public his complaints were completely investigated.
Speaking of the rambling manifesto, one of Dorner's "likes" posted a video thanking the triple-homicide subject–and urging him to call him. Charlie Sheen, who knows a thing or three about winning Anger Management, suggests they talk it out to together figure out "a way to end this thing." See his brief message via TMZ below (and sorry about the commercial, which should be for his FX sitcom):
In other developments:
– A Buena Park storage facility that Dorner rents was searched Saturday, but Irvine police have not revealed what the contents were. That was a day after 10 bags of evidence, including electronic, were pulled out of the La Palma home of Dorner's mother.
– CBS News reports the two high-powered rifles left in Dorner's truck had silencers and that, besides the Glock and survival gear, a gas mask and night-vision goggles were inside.
– The 54-year-old LAPD captain who chaired Dorner's dismissal board has not left his Orange County home since the rampage began. "From what I've seen of his actions, he feels he can make
allegations for injustice and justify killing people and that's not
reasonable," Captain Phil Tingirides tells The Orange County Register. "The end never justifies the means."
– The Navy revealed Dorner had flight training, so the aviation community has been warned to be on the lookout for him.
– LAPD Chief Charlie Beck on Saturday visited and apologized to the two women injured by gunfire his officers fired at the truck they were in to deliver newspapers in Torrance early Thursday. Beck had previously called it a case by mistaken identity by cops protecting one of Dorner's high-value targets. The suspect–6 feet tall, 270 pounds and African-American–had been driving a gray pickup. The women–short Latinas–were in a very blue truck, which Beck vowed to replace. The LAPD previously revealed the officers were placed on administrative leave.
– Irvine police revealed the Dorner items officers picked up from a National City dumpster were a clip with hollow-tip bullets, a military belt and a military helmet.
UPDATE, FEB. 11, 3:40 P.M.: At a just-concluded news conference, LAPD spokesman Lieutenant Andrew Neiman urged the public to consider the $1 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of triple-homicide suspect Chris Dorner a reward, not a bounty.
"We do not need bounty hunters taking him into custody," Neiman said of Dorner, who of course has been described as armed and extremely dangerous. "We don't want anyone else hurt."
The spokesman made a distinction between those who see or think they see Dorner, who were instructed to call 9-1-1, and those who have information on where he is, where he is heading or anything else relevant to the investigation. As the Irvine Police Department announced earlier in the day, tipsters are to call 1.213.486.6860 or 1.800.222.8477.
Before LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Chief Charlie Beck announced
the $1 million reward Sunday, LA County
Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Mark Ridley-Thomas announced
they're offering a $100,000 reward of their own, as is the city
of Riverside and the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.
Meanwhile, Neiman urged the media to only present recent photos of Dorner that have been released, as opposed to those from when he was younger and thinner. The newer shots will most help the public spot Dorner, according to the spokesman.
Responding to reporter questions, Neiman said:
– An independent review of Dorner's LAPD dismissal is possible because the department has an independent inspector general appointed by the police commission. "He is willing to talk with anyone about any allegation," Neiman said of the I.G. Asked whether an outside investigator might look into Dorner's complaint, Neiman said, "I don't have any
statement on that."
– He had no information on an officer-involved shooting in Temecula at that time. KCAL/Channel 9 later reported via helicopter newsman that an unmarked police car appears to have a taxicab blocked in a residential area, but the reporter did not know if the incident is Dorner-related.
– He had no information on whether Dorner has reached out to anyone since his burning truck was found.
– More tactical alerts–where police will respond slowly or not at all to routine calls because of incidents related to the Dorner case–are possible, but the city is not currently under one now.
At 3 p.m., Neiman was asked to repeat much of what he'd already said for newscasts that were breaking in live at that moment. "Are you kidding?" he responded.
He then went over the general tips about leaving tips, more than 700 of which have poured in since Sunday.
"This is a regional effort; information is coming in from wide and far," he said. "We're going to turn
over every rock until we find this individual and make this city safe again. We are making great progress, but we need your help."
In other recent Dorner developments (Dornelopments?):
– What had earlier been reported as a hoax has now turned up in a federal arrest affidavit: Dorner or someone pretending to be him called Randy Quan, the retired LAPD cop whose daughter and future son-in-law were murdered in Irvine, and said he "should have done a better job of protecting his daughter." The call is said to have been traced to Vancouver, Washington, but authorities do not believe Dorner was there.
– The Riverside County district attorney's office announced it will seek the death penalty for Dorner for the murder of the Riverside city police officer who has now been identified: Michael Crain, 34.
– LAPD spokesman Andrew Smith previous said "an army" of cops will provide security at a public memorial service for Crain on
Wednesday. A fund has been set up for anyone wishing to make a donation Crain's family. Checks can be mailed to: Riverside Police Officers Association Assistance Fund (RPOA), 1965 Chicago Ave., Ste. B, Riverside, CA 92507.
– The LAPD is providing security and surveillance details to more than 50 police officers and their families, many of whom reside in Orange County or nearby. Chief Beck's schedule is not being released to the public or the media. Beck has labeled Dorner "a domestic terrorist."
– The affidavit filed last week indicates Dorner may be in Nevada or Mexico. Arizona officials have also called alerts.
– Dorner sightings in a Northridge Lowes home-improvement store and San Bernardino apartment complex Sunday were unfounded. That same night, the LAPD beefed up its presence at the Grammy Awards ceremony.
– It appears clear authorities no longer believe Dorner is in Big Bear, as the number of trackers has been cut drastically, down from a high of 200 last week to about 25 now, although a helicopter is still flying overhead. Big Bear Lake's chamber of commerce leader released a statement saying the weekend police operations did not put a dent in resort business. Well, thank God for that!
– The LA Times reports Dorner stalked some of the people in his manifesto for weeks.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 8:40 P.M.: Attention in the Chris Dorner manhunt has turned to Mexico, a Torrance Sports Chalet store and underwater.
The U.S. Marshals affidavit filed Thursday suggested the triple-homicide suspect may have fled to Mexico, citing his alleged attempt to steal a boat in San Diego and his I.D. being found near the border the middle of last week.
There are reports a Tijuana motel was just raided, but the person thought to be Dorner was not.
Oddly, at a just-concluded press conference, LAPD spokesman Lieutenant Andrew Neiman said investigators have not yet followed up on the attempted boat theft, but that they plan to check it out. "The investigation on Christopher Dorner is going in many directions," he said.
The affidavit filed in Santa Ana federal court also mentions a "J.Y.," who may be an accomplice. Dorner's manifesto included this: "Jason Young, a great friend, entrepreneur, husband and father. You showed me the importance of fatherhood and friendship. Love you, bro."
Authorities have not confirmed the J.Y. whose movements they are claimed to be tracking is Jason Young. Neither would Neiman when asked if a possible Dorner accomplice is under surveillance: "I can't confirm that."
He did say the LAPD now has in its possession video from a Torrance Sports Chalet that may show Dorner purchasing scuba gear two days before the Feb. 3 double murders in Irvine. The department will try to determine whether that really was the suspect, someone who looks like him or someone posing as him, the spokesman added.
In answering a reporter's question, Neiman confirmed something I have not seen disclosed elsewhere: that a sighting of the suspect was reported at a Manhattan Beach hotel. Again, the spokesman said detectives are trying to figure whether or not Dorner was really there.
To do so, hours of surveillance video will have to be examined. The manhunt task force will have even more to pore over, as a request has been made for Big Bear residents and merchants to turn over any surveillance video they have collected since Thursday.
Neiman mentioned there had been 250 tips collected before the $1 million reward was announced Sunday, and there are now more than 1,000 being prioritized and individually checked out. But given the wide net that has been cast to catch Dorner and reports that have cops on edge bouncing all around this vast region, Neiman was asked if officers and authorities are frustrated.
"It is frustrating," he confirmed. "We are hopeful something credible breaks loose from the public."
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 12:58 P.M.: KCAL/Channel 9 is reporting a resident has told its reporter Dorner tried to carjack someone and was soon thereafter captured off Highway 38 outside Big Bear.
"We got him, we got him," the resident said after flagging down the KCBS/KCAL news van.
Sirens could be heard in the background of the reporter's audio-only report.
Another KCBS reporter says he has received confirmation Dorner was captured.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 1:29 P.M.: "At about 12:20 [p.m.] in the 1200 block of Clubview Drive [in Big Bear], a vehicle was stolen," San Bernardino County Sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman just said on KNBC/Channel 4.
"The description of the subject who stole the vehicle is similar to Christopher Dorner," Bachman added. "Deputies are searching the entire community with air support. People should expect closures on all mountain highways. No one is going to be coming down or allowed to go up."
Bachman could not confirm reports Dorner broke into a cabin, tied a couple up and fled with their vehicle, although she did say it was the person whose vehicle was stolen who provided the Dorner description.
There were reports at the same time a white truck is being sought.
Another KNBC reporter on the scene says shots have been fired and one or two officers may have been hit, based on emergency radio traffic.
News vans have been allowed to a remote wilderness area away from most Big Bear residences.
More to come …
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 1:34 P.M.: A KNBC/Channel 4 reporter in a helicopter over a "tactical" scene below Big Bear near Seven Oaks off Highway 38 says emergency radio traffic indicates an officer was down and his colleagues tried to extract him while taking automatic gunfire.
The downed deputy has since been removed and moved to a helicopter for an airlift.
The Riverside County Sheriff's Department confirms Dorner broke into a couple's cabin. He tied them up and later fled in their 2008 white Dodge pickup truck. That's believed to be the vehicle reported stolen.
A California Fish and Game warden fired at least one round at the truck, according to Riverside deputies, who say the vehicle was heading south on Highway 38 toward Cherry Valley.
UPDATED, FEB. 12, 1:46 P.M.: Radio traffic now indicates two officers were down.
Big Bear schools are on lockdown and parents are being told to stay away.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 1:55 P.M.: Dorner could have an impressive arsenal; he's reportedly made money since leaving LAPD and the Navy manufacturing weapons. There are also reports he has 34 legally registered guns.
Meanwhile, the Manhattan Beach hotel mentioned in previous reports is believed to be where Dorner wrote his manifesto, which went online Monday.
It's believed he was holed up in the Big Bear cabin since Thursday. KABC/Channel 7 reports the two female occupants of the cabin have been taken away by paramedics.
A Channel 4 anchorwoman claimed Dorner has been watching everything unfold on television from their cabin, without attributing that to anyone.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 2:09 P.M.: Chris Dorner is said to be pinned down in a cabin or nearby high ground near Glass Road off Highway 38 outside the Seven Oaks area.
Officers there have their guns drawn. Smoke, perhaps from a canister thrown by law enforcement to mark the area, is seen filling the sky. Shots have rung through the area for 20 minutes.
"This is the break we've all been waiting for," Big Bear Lakes Mayor Jay Obernolte tells CNN.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 2:36 P.M.: The Crestview cabin Dorner invaded and has been holed up in since Thursday morning is practically across the street from the Bear Mountain command center where media and law enforcement have been gathered about as long, according to a spokesman at the resort.
It was only today that one of the two female occupants of the cabin managed to break free and call 9-1-1. That call set off the chain of events that seem to be culminating near snow-covered cabins off Glass Road. One of the two women checked by paramedics told authorities Dorner had a handgun with a silencer, an automatic weapon and smoke grenades.
No condition report for the wounded officers has been received.
A California Department and Fish and Game spokesman confirms one of its wardens was the first law-enforcement official to spot Dorner's escape vehicle and that both got out of their vehicles and exchanged gunfire. No CDFG officers were injured, the official added.
The Bear Valley Unified School District has lifted the lockdown and allowed parents to return to all schools except the one closest to Seven Oaks.
There is a roadblock at Highway 38 in Barton Flats preventing all vehicles except law enforcement's from coming down or going up.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 3:15 P.M.: The LAPD has sent unspecified resources up to the San Bernardino Mountains to assist in the capture of a suspect presumed to be Chris Dorner, said Commander Andrew Smith of the media division at a press conference.
"This is a San Bernardino County Sheriff's investigation; this is their lead," Smith explained. "We are there to support if asked."
Smith said the task force has received 1,045 clues and will continue to work those as the events unfold in Big Bear.
Authorities are not positive the man barricaded in a Seven Oaks area cabin is indeed Dorner and won't be "until we have him in custody," cautioned Smith, who added he could not confirm whether there are hostages in what is now the second cabin the suspect is believed to have invaded.
Smith said Dorner or whoever is inside the cabin may be watching live television "so we don't want to tip our hand," noting that the San Bernardino County sheriff has asked media helicopters to pull back so as not to give the suspect a "tactical advantage." (The LA Times, quoting the real-estate person who owns the cabin, says no television, Internet or weapons other than the suspect's are inside.)
If it is Dorner inside the cabin, Smith had a message for him: "Enough is enough. It is time to turn yourself in; it is time to stop this bloodshed."
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 3:47 P.M.: At least one of the two deputies shot by a suspect believed to be Dorner has died, reports the Los Angeles Times from Loma Linda University Medical Center, where a press conference looms.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 4:17 P.M.: A KCBS-TV reporter who found himself caught in the gunfire between law enforcement and a suspect in a Seven Oaks area cabin believed to be Dorner earlier today says when he rolled up he saw a rifle on the ground, an ammo clip and a bulletproof vest he assumes belonged to one of the wounded deputies.
The station has played dramatic audio of the gun battle recorded by correspondent Carter Evans, who says on live TV he had not heard any shots fired for about an hour before tear-gas rounds resumed at 4:15 p.m. A "significant amount of smoke" can now be seen pouring out of the cabin, he said.
Since Evans first arrived outside the cabin, a "massive" police operation has since surrounded it, something he referred to as a "surge" that resembles a "war zone." Officers, who have switched their normal uniforms for camos, are currently trying to communicate with the holed-up man via a megaphone.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 4:20 P.M.: Evans of KCBS says he has eyeballs on the Big Bear cabin, which is now "engulfed in flames."
"These flames are growing very quickly, the entire cabin is in flames, a plume of black smoke is rising, and officers are standing still" with guns drawn.
No one is making a move to put the fire out, he added.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 4:27 P.M.: San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon confirms in front of the Loma Linda hospital that one of his deputies died in the cabin gun battle. The sheriff would not confirm where that deputy was shot, how long he'd served or his name, saying the investigation continues and family still needs to be notified.
McMahon confirmed the second deputy, also unidentified, is from his agency, currently in surgery and expected to recover.
Both deputies were made aware Dorner was the one apparently shooting at them, the sheriff said.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 4:34 P.M.: Authorities now fear the suspect believed to be Dorner may have escaped the cabin, as tracks point away from that area of Seven Oaks toward horse stables.
But Evans of KCBS, who appears to be the closest reporter to the scene, notes that one gunshot was heard "very early on," before the flames broke out.
Perhaps the suspect made the ultimate escape.
Fire crews have arrived; cops still have guns drawn.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 4:57 P.M.: "We believe there is someone in that cabin," says Cindy Bachman, San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman. "We have reason to believe it's [Dorner]."
Carter Evans, the KCBS reporter on the scene of the fire, said he believes no one could have survived the ongoing fire. He has heard the popping sounds of ammunition firing inside the cabin.
It appears fire crews are letting the cabin fire burn itself out.
Bachman said she knew of no hostages inside the cabin.
A man identified as Kyle Martin is telling CNN anchor Anderson Cooper right now that it is not actually one cabin, but rather five small cabins that his mother rents out that are burning. He says the units have electricity and use propane for heating. He added there is an 800-square-foot basement, and he does not believe any weapons were inside.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 5:28 P.M.: The U.S. Marshal's office reports that around the time the fire started, a suspect tried to exit out of the rear of the cabin complex, but he was "pushed back in."
Kyle Martin, whose mother owns the cabins and barn on what he'd estimate to be 10 acres of land, says there are other cabins behind the property someone could have taken refuge in, about a mile away.
The fire is nearly out, and when it is, crews will move in and launch a search, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman.
Reporters on site do not believe anyone could have survived the fire.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 6:10 P.M.: As President Barack Obama's State of the Union address begins in Washington, D.C., the Los Angeles Times is reporting the "official" chain of events from Big Bear:
– Police used a vehicle to begin tearing down the walls of the cabin Chris Dorner was presumed to be holed up in.
– As the crew reached the last wall, a gunshot was heard.
– Shortly after that, fire engulfed the structure.
Ex-law enforcement interviewed on CNN deny police would have purposely set the cabins on fire, saying they would have wanted to take Dorner alive to clear investigations of mayhem across Southern California.
It is still possible a tear-gas canister fired inside could have caused a blaze. It's also possible the suspect had devices inside that could have sparked a fire.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 6:54 P.M.: A body believed to be Chris Dorner has been removed from the cabin in Big Bear, according to a KABC/Channel 7 news report.
"The law-enforcement official requested anonymity because of the ongoing investigation," states an online posting.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 7:12 P.M.: The Associated Press, citing a law-enforcement source, reports a charred body was found in the cabin.
The body was found at about 6:30 tonight, an unnamed official tells the AP, adding identifying marks such as tattoos are being checked to confirm the identity.
"Christopher Dorner is dead," an LAPD source tells KTLA/Channel 5 news, which adds Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz has also disclosed the triple-murder suspect died in the cabin fire.
But KCAL/Channel 9 clarifies the LAPD only said it believed Dorner never left the cabin and that confirmation of his death must come from the San Bernardino County sheriff's office.
UPDATE, FEB. 12, 8:13 P.M.: LAPD spokesman Lieutenant Andrew Smith denied media reports that a charred body was found in Big Bear and that it's Dorner.
"That cabin is still too hot to make contact," Smith said. "Any reports of a body being found are not true. Any reports identifying the body as Christopher Dorner is not true, and no body has been located."
Smith said he did not know where information indicating otherwise came from "or how it's being attributed to the Los Angeles Police Department." Any confirmation about a body or Dorner's death in Big Bear would come from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, Smith noted.
Here, based on various media and law-enforcement reports, is what had been put out there before Smith spoke:
Two cleaning ladies discovered Chris Dorner this morning in the cabin across the street from the Bear Mountain command center where law enforcement and media were congregated, according to sheriff's deputies.
Dorner bound them with plastic ties and stole their vehicle and crashed it, say deputies, who accuse the suspect of then carjacking a truck, which led to today's first shootout, with a state Fish and Game warden off Highway 38.
Dorner then fled on foot and broke into a vacant cabin complex on Crest View Drive in the Angelus Oaks area about halfway between Big Bear and Mentone. That's where he barricaded himself, and much gunfire was exchanged with law enforcement. Two San Bernardino County deputies were wounded, with one later dying and a second undergoing surgery in Loma Linda. The second deputy is expected to survive.
Much of this happened right before television-news cameras arrived, and the San Bernardino County sheriff ordered media helicopters to pull back to prevent tactical operations from being broadcast and possibly seen by the suspect.
It was during this blackout time that another prolonged gunfight ensued, and the suspect tried to flee out the back, but approaching officers forced him to retreat back inside. Heavy vehicles were moved in to tear down cabin walls one by one, and when the last one was reached, a single gunshot was heard.
A fire broke out, possibly from a tear-gas canister. Authorities allowed the complex structures to burn to the ground. A charred body has since been found, and the LAPD says it believes Dorner never left during the fire.
If a body is found, it may be days or even weeks before Dorner is positively identified, officials say.
UPDATE, FEB. 13, 8:46 A.M.: The investigation into homicides pinned to Chris Dorner will continue, the multi-agency task force is still in place, a dozen or so manifesto-named "high-value targets" are still being protected, and the re-evaluation of the presumed dead suspect's complaints that started a region-wide nightmare go on, Lieutenant Andrew Neiman said at the just-concluded, last regularly scheduled LAPD press briefing.
But in a strong indication cops are confident they got their guy, Neiman added the city of Los Angeles has returned to normal, daily patrol operations.
The protective details will remain in force until police brass and those being protected feel safe, said Neiman, who repeatedly informed the gathered media he would not comment on the events that transpired in the San Bernardino Mountains yesterday. More details on that and a positive identification of the remains that were removed from a burnt-down cabin late last night will have to come from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, he added.
Asked why, if it's believed Dorner is dead, the task force and investigations are continuing, Neiman answered those are still open cases "we have to close." Just because an arrest warrant has been issued, charges have been filed and a suspect is no longer a fugitive, there is still "more work that needs to be done," the spokesman explained.
Much of that will change once the remains are positively identified, and Neiman indicated without specifics that there are ways coroners can expedite that "in these kinds of circumstances."
The abuse and racism allegations Dorner lodged against the LAPD are being examined because Chief Charlie Beck wants to demonstrate to the public it takes them seriously, that the department is transparent and that the agency is fair, Neiman said.
Like someone who has made big promises only to pull out empty pockets on pay day, the spokesman said the LAPD "does not issue rewards" such as the $1 million one Beck announced Sunday. It will be up to city attorneys to decide whether anyone is entitled to it, Neiman said. (I'm rooting for the Big Bear housekeepers.)
"It's for information leading to the arrest and conviction of an individual," Neiman said of rewards. "These are unusual circumstances."
Yes, Dorner was not arrested or convicted but, as a reporter mentioned in his question to Neiman, "exterminated." The spokesman didn't entertain that question, by the way.
Speaking of millions, Neiman has no idea what the Dorner case has cost financially. We do know it has cost two law-enforcement officers their lives. The funeral for Riverside Police Officer Michael Daniel Crain is later this morning, and some of the more than 8,000 expected to attend have already arrived at Grove Community Church in the city the Redlands High grad patrolled. The San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy slain Tuesday has yet to be officially identified.
Asked what was going through the minds of officers as the events were unfolding Tuesday, Neiman said, "Like many of you, we were listening to local Internet channels. It was horrifying to hear those words: 'officer down.' It is the most gut-wrenching feeling you can have as an officer because we know what that means."
UPDATE, FEB. 13, 2:08 P.M.: The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department has reportedly admitted to using a more flammable tear gas known as "hot gas" to draw the suspect presumed to be Chris Dorner out of the Angelus Oaks cabin he'd been holed up in Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, how the suspect managed to remain undetected for days in another cabin a chip shot away from the Bear Mountain law-enforcement command center is producing more questions, as there are reports dogs in that area had been barking incessantly and a screen with pry marks was found in the snow mere feet from the window that was entered.
Andrew Blankenstein of the Los Angeles Times just told KTLA/Channel 5 news that a source told him the "hot gas" could have very well started the fire that burned down the cabin and presumably killed Dorner, who has not yet been positively identified as the body found late last night.
The source is said to have defended the "hot gas" use due to the chain of events. Dorner had allegedly killed an Irvine couple and a Riverside police officer and been in intense gunfights with state game wardens and sheriff's deputies, including one who later died and another who was injured with six gun wounds, by the time the flammable gas was lobbed into the cabin.
Another intense firefight with the suspect in the cabin and unanswered attempts to communicate with him led authorities to conclude he was not coming out, that he intended to do more harm and that he wanted to "basically commit suicide by cop," Blankenstein said.
"With nightfall approaching, a decision to deploy tear gas was made," said Blankenstein, who noted the first round was to be the typical, non-lethal tear gas one associates with street riots. When that failed to draw out the suspect, a decision was reportedly made to use the much more powerful "hot gas," which causes suffocation; oxygen loss; and burning eyes, nose and throat so strong one must get away from it.
Cabin windows were broken, the "hot gas" was tossed inside, the suspect was told via megaphone to exit, heavy machinery was used to tear down cabin walls, and then, finally, a single gunshot was heard inside, ending the 10-day nightmare since Irvine's Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence drew their last breaths.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.