In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 5, 2018 at 12:15 am

The LAPD’s leadership were terrified after they read Christopher Dorner’s 11-page “manifesto” published on his Facebook page.

Clearly, he intended to take revenge on the agency he blamed for the 2008 termination of his police career.

Christopher Dorner

As a result, the LAPD rushed to provide security and surveillance details to more than 50 endangered police officers and their families.

The agency also declared a “tactical alert,” forcing officers to remain on their shifts as long as needed.

Shortly after 1 a.m. on February 7, in Corona, California, Dorner fired at Los Angeles police officers who had been assigned to protect someone connected to threats he had posted in an online “manifesto.”

One officer was grazed in the head, but the wound was not life-threatening. The officers returned fire, and Dorner fled.

Then, at about 1:35 a.m., Dorner struck again, shooting two Riverside police officers who had stopped at a red light during a routine patrol. One officer was killed and the other wounded. The injured officer was taken to a hospital and was reported to be in stable condition.

Word instantly spread through the police grapevine about the shootings. And officers decided it was better to shoot first and ask questions later.

At 5:30 a.m. on February 7,  LAPD officers were patrolling a Torrance neighborhood to guard yet another target named in Dorner’s manifesto.

They spotted a car they thought was Dorner’s and opened fire, injuring two women.  One suffered a minor bullet wound, and the other was shot twice. Taken to a hospital, the latter was reported to be in stable condition.

Sometime after the Torrance shooting, a passer-by found a wallet with an LAPD badge and a picture ID of Dorner on a street near San Diego International Airport.

This was only a short distance from the naval base motel where he had reportedly checked in on February 7—but had never checked out.

Amid frantic TV news reports that Dorner was barricaded inside, police swarmed the hotel. But the soon learned that he hadn’t been there after all.

The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service, meanwhile, were seeking the public’s help in providing information about Dorner or his whereabouts.

At about noon on February 7, a burning truck was located in the snow-covered woods near Big Bear Lake, 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department later confirmed that the vehicle was Dorner’s Nissan Titan.  No one was in the truck.

SWAT teams from the LAPD, San Bernardino Sheriff’s deputies, FBI agents and deputy U.S. marshals flooded the area. All were heavily armed, carrying assault rifles or machine guns.

A SWAT team

Dorner, in his manifesto, had boasted of owning assault rifles and even a Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle whose bullets can pierce bulletproof vests and even tanks, airplanes and concrete. A marksman with a Barrett could easily hit a target from a mile away.

Police initially searched 400 homes in the area, but found no trace of Dorner.

The manhunt was slowed down by a heavy snowfall, but police, determined to find Dorner, pressed on.

Meanwhile, FBI SWAT teams and local police served a search warrant at a Las Vegas home belonging to Dorner. The lawmen carried out boxes of his possessions. No weapons were found.

After issuing a search warrant, Irvine police combed through the La Pama house belonging to Christopher Dorner’s mother. Investigators removed from the home seven grocery bags of evidence and several electronic items.

On February 9, at a late afternoon press conference, authorities announced the creation of a joint task force to search for Dorner. The task force comprised the Los Angeles, Irvine and Riverside police departments, the FBI and U.S. Marshals, and other affiliated law enforcement agencies.

“We will look under every rock, around every corner, we will search mountain tops for him,” said Riverside Police Assistant Chief Chris Vicino at the press conference.

Underscoring this point, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said: “This is an act–and make no mistake about it–of domestic terrorism. This is a man who has targeted those that we entrust to protect the public. His actions cannot go unanswered.”

Besides manpower and technology, police employed psychology. That same day, the LAPD announced that it would reopen the investigation into Dorner’s firing.

“I do this not to appease a murderer,” LAPD Chief Beck said in a statement. “I do it to reassure the public that their police department is transparent and fair in all the things we do.”

Clearly police hoped this would lead Dorner to back off or even surrender.

On February 10, at 11:46 a.m., Los Angeles County Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Mark Ridley-Thomas announced they were offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Dorner.

Later that day, at 1 p.m., a joint task force offered a $1 million reward for information leading to Dorner’s arrest.

Federal authorities were also relentlessly hunting Dorner—and not only through the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection deployed unmanned drone aircrafts to find him.

As in The Day of the Jackal, despite a widespread dragnet and all-out search, law enforcement’s Number One fugitive had vanished.

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