Police in Calif. tracking down one of their own
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LOS ANGELES -- As the scope of Christopher Jordan Dorner's ambitions sank in Thursday, thousands of police hunted him and waited, on edge, as he seemed determined to hunt them.
At departments across Southern California, bulletproof vests and riot gear were strapped on, shotguns readied. Motorcycle cops rode inside the protective metal of squad cars. The joking morning chatter had been replaced by grim quiet.
Their adversary was a linebacker-sized ex-cop with a multitude of firearms, military training and a seemingly bottomless grudge born when the LAPD fired him in 2009. Before dawn Thursday, authorities said, Mr. Dorner had already struck twice -- grazing an LAPD officer's head with a bullet in Corona, and shooting two Riverside officers, killing one of them.
It was the third homicide police have attributed to Mr. Dorner, 33, a former U.S. Navy reservist who also is accused of killing the daughter of a retired LAPD captain and her fiance in Irvine.
Police across California and Nevada launched an unprecedented manhunt involving hundreds of officers from dozens of agencies.
In a Facebook manifesto police say Mr. Dorner wrote, he ranted against LAPD personnel who he said fired him unfairly. He threatened revenge, "unconventional and asymmetrical warfare" against police and their families, saying he would stalk them "where you work, live, eat and sleep."
Authorities took him at his word. "Of course he knows what he's doing -- we trained him," Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said. "It is extremely worrisome and scary, especially to the police officers involved."
Police are guarding at least 40 people mentioned in his screed. Security was tight at LAPD headquarters, with officers stationed around the perimeter. Chief Beck himself was being escorted by extra officers.
Police are struggling to discern a pattern in Mr. Dorner's recent movements. A burly man matching his description tried to steal a boat about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Southwestern Yacht Club in San Diego's Point Loma, tying up the elderly owner, threatening him with a gun and saying he wanted to flee to Mexico. The thief gave up when a rope got tangled in the propeller. Mr. Dorner's old LAPD badge was found a short distance from the boat.
Three hours later, 100 miles away near an offramp of Interstate 15 in Corona, a resident recognized Mr. Dorner's Nissan Titan pickup truck and flagged down LAPD officers who were en route to guarding one of his would-be targets, police said. After a brief chase, Mr. Dorner opened fire with a rifle, grazing one officer in the head with a bullet that came within inches of killing him. Police returned fire, but the gunman escaped.
Minutes later in nearby Riverside, two city police officers were attacked as they sat in their marked patrol car at a red light, police said. Bullets penetrated the windshield and struck both officers in the chest, killing a 34-year-old veteran and wounding the 27-year-old officer he was training. That officer is expected to survive. It was a "cowardly ambush," said Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz.
Police converged on Riverside to help with the manhunt, and officers held rifles and shotguns as they stood guard outside the police station. "My opinion of the suspect is unprintable," Chief Diaz said. "The manifesto, I think, speaks for itself as evidence enough of a depraved and abandoned mind and heart."
The names of the officers who were shot have not been released. There is fear that Mr. Dorner may come after them again, or their families. At schools near the shootings, some wary parents kept their children home. Other schools were closed.
First Published February 8, 2013 12:18 am