The manhunt for suspected cop-killer Christopher Dorner has led police to a California ski resort, where the suspect’s demolished pickup truck was found on the mountain, with tracks in the snow leading away from it.
After police stumbled upon the burning truck near Big Bear Lake, they followed the suspected shooter’s tracks, but failed to catch up to him. Dorner continues to be on the run as authorities continue the largest manhunt in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department.
The manhunt has led police to three states and the north of Mexico. Police are now conducting door-to-door searches of the 400 homes near the ski resort at Big Bear Lake, Calif. Authorities do not know if Dorner remains in the area, but will continue to search the area as long as the weather cooperates, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman told ABC.
Bystanders are escorted from a crime scene while police detectives investigate a shooting incident involving a blue Toyota Tacoma pickup truck in Torrance, California, February 7, 2013 (Reuters / Patrick T. Fallon)
While police will be knocking on the doors of all area residents, Bachman urged residents not to answer the door unless they know the person or see a law enforcement officer in uniform. Area schools closed down on Friday as the manhunt progressed.
But even though authorities continue to search the mountains, they admit that Dorner might no longer be in the area and that the demolished vehicle could have been a diversion or even a trap.
“He could be anywhere at this point,” said San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon.
About 150 miles south, as many as 16 San Diego County sheriff’s deputies spent the night surrounding a rural home after receiving fake reports that Dorner was there. Investigators plan to seek criminal charges against the suspect responsible for the hoax.
But in their desperation to find the man who threatened to kill more people, police are searching for him throughout California, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico. All of Dorner’s cell phone connections have been cut off, making it even more difficult for police to track him.
“We don’t know what he’s going to do,” Bachman said. “We know what he’s capable of doing. And we need to find him.”
Traffic goes past a sign at San Diego State University along Interstate 8 with information about a murder suspect’s vehicle, former LAPD officer Christopher Jordan Dorner, February 7, 2013 in San Diego, California (AFP Photo / Denis Poroy)
The suspected cop-killers actions increasingly point towards a deliberated scheme that was planned out in advance. On Thursday, CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper announced that the Dorner had sent his office a package, which arrived on Feb. 1 and must have been mailed prior to that – days before Dorner fatally shot his first two victims on Feb. 3.
The parcel contained a DVD, a letter, and a bullet-riddled coin. A sticky-note on the DVD read, “I never lied! Here is my vindication.” The coin was an LAPD token that bears the name of William Bratton, former LAPD Chief of Police. The coins are symbolic gifts sometimes given to officers to wish them good luck and are a symbol of respect. Written on duct-tape attached to the coin was the inscription, “Thanks, but no thanks Will Bratton.”
Cooper’s staff did not discover the contents of the package until Thursday, after which Cooper went on the air with Bratton to discuss its significance.
“What you’ve shown me is, to be quite frank with you, very disturbing,” said Bratton, who does not remember meeting Dorner several years ago.
“I was the Chief of Police that signed off on his discharge from the LAPD, so in terms of his grievances, I could understand his grievance directed toward me in my capacity as Chief of Police,” he said. “A lot of police officers get discharged and none of them resort to the actions that this young man has taken.”
Dorner, a 33-year-old former LAPD officer and Navy reservist, is suspected of killing two civilians and one police officer and injuring two other officers. The suspected killer has published an online manifesto on his Facebook page in which he lays out his grievances against the LAPD, includes a list of people he plans to kill, and pledges to take down their families too. In an alleged act of vengeance, Dorner’s shooting spree is in response to being “unjustly” terminated from the LAPD in early 2009. Dorner was dismissed for “making false statements” about another officer using excessive force against a schizophrenic subject. Dorner was fired, while his colleague was cleared from the accusation.
“The LAPD’s actions have cost me my law enforcement career. They cost me my naval career. … I’ve lost my relationship with my mother and sister because of the LAPD. I’ve lost a relationship with close friends because of the LAPD. In essence, I’ve lost everything because the LAPD took my name and [knew] I was INNOCENT!!!”Dorner wrote in his manifesto.
“This is my last resort. The LAPD has suppressed the truth and it has now led to deadly consequences.”
The police department has dispatched protection teams to guard uniformed officers and their families. Dozens of officers have built a line of defense outside of the LAPD headquarters and officers who normally patrol on motorcycles have been ordered to use patrol cars. Officers are also being dispatched in teams of at least two as the LAPD’s largest manhunt in history continues.
“I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty,” Dorner threatened. “You will now live the life of the prey.”
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