Manhunt Continues For Ex-Cop on Suspected Killing Rampage

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 8 2013 10:58 AM

Ex-Cop Turned Cop Killer Has the Police Freaked Out: "We Know What He’s Capable of Doing"

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Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck gives a briefing on the case of Christopher Dorner, a fired LAPD officer wanted for three killings on February 7, 2013

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A multi-state manhunt for an ex-cop feared to be in the midst of an armed rampage aimed at police officers and their families continued Friday, leaving one California resort town on lockdown and authorities apparently stumped as to the whereabouts of the suspected killer.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The suspect in question is Christopher Dorner, a former Navy reservist who was fired from the LAPD back in 2008 after filing what was found to be a false report accusing a fellow cop of abuse. Dorner, who has been described by police as armed and extremely dangerous, remains on the run as police continue to scramble to connect the dots and find him. He is believed to have already killed at least three people, and twice opened fire on unsuspecting police officers on patrol.

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From the sounds of it, the whole thing has authorities rather freaked out (as would be expected given what has unfolded over the past week) and they don't appear to be doing much to hide their fears. Here are a few of the more worrisome statements to come from police in recent days, via the Associated Press recap:

"We don’t know what he’s going to do," said Cindy Bachman, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, one of many law enforcement agencies whose primary purpose has become finding Christopher Dorner, 33. "We know what he’s capable of doing. And we need to find him." ...
"He could be anywhere at this point," said San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon, who had 125 deputies and police officers and two helicopters searching the community of Big Bear Lake, where light snow fell early Friday morning. ...
At a news conference held amid heightened security in an underground room at police headquarters, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck urged Dorner to surrender. "Of course he knows what he’s doing; we trained him. He was also a member of the Armed Forces," he said. "It is extremely worrisome and scary."

And the New York Times on the precautions the police are taking to protect their officers while at the same time they attempt to find their man:

The series of killings ... has led the department to dispatch protection teams to guard uniformed officers and their families and to have scores of officers set up lines of defense outside the fortress that is the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters. Motorcycle officers have been ordered to retreat to the safety of patrol cars.

And this (very!) troubling incident, which suggests just how tense things are:

In Torrance on Thursday, two women delivering newspapers were shot and wounded by police officers who mistook the Honda pickup they were driving for the gray Nissan identified as belonging to the gunman.

Part of the reason that authorities are on edge is because of a rambling, 6,000-word note that Dorner posted on his Facebook page that included complaints of severe depression and vows to kill police officers to avenge his dismissal from the force. The LAPD, which has dubbed Dorner's threatening post "his manifesto," were alerted to the existence of the note on Wednesday, three days after Monica Quan and her fiance, Keith Lawrence, were found shot in their car in a parking garage outside their home in Irvine. Quan, 28, is reportedly the daughter of Randal Quan, a former LAPD captain turned lawyer who represented Dorner in his failed attempts to keep his job. Randal Quan was also among those with ties to the force that were named in Dorner's manifesto, which promised "to bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare" to his former colleagues and department.

Police in Los Angeles and Irvine went public with their manhunt on Wednesday. Hours later a pair of LAPD officers who were en route to provide security to one of Dorner's possible targets had a run-in with the driver of a pickup truck, believed to be Dorner. The man opened fire with a rifle, with one bullet grazing an officer's head. Later that same night, two different officers on routine patrol were ambushed at a stoplight by a motorist, again believed to be Dorner, who pulled up alongside them and opened fire. One of the officers died and the other was seriously wounded, according to police.

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