Official: Former cop likely not done with vendetta

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Christopher Dorner Army uniform

Christopher Dorner in Army uniform. (AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A prosecutor who filed a murder charge against a fugitive former Los Angeles police officer that could result in the death penalty said he believes the man hasn’t finished carrying out his vendetta.

“Just read his manifesto and look at his actions,” Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach said. “He’s trying to send a message, and it would be my belief that his message is not completed yet.”

Zellerbach filed charges Monday against Christopher Dorner for the murder of Riverside police Officer Michael Crain and the attempted murder of three other officers.

The manhunt for Dorner, 33, began last Wednesday when he was named the suspect in the Orange County killings of a former Los Angeles police captain’s daughter and her fiance the previous weekend. Hours after police announced they were looking for him, Dorner allegedly fired at two LAPD officers then ambushed the Riverside officers.

“By both his words and conduct, he has made very clear to us that every law enforcement officer in Southern California is in danger of being shot and killed,” Zellerbach said at a news conference guarded by four officers armed with rifles.

Police said Dorner wrote a lengthy manifesto that was posted to Facebook after the double killing. The manifesto vowed deadly revenge on those in the LAPD responsible for his firing years earlier, and their families. Police now are providing protection for some 50 families thought to be targets.

The search for Dorner remained focused in the mountains near Big Bear Lake about 80 miles east of Los Angeles after his burned-out truck was found there last Thursday. Authorities are searching more than 30 square miles day and night in the ski resort area and checking on roughly 600 cabins.

Police urged area residents with security cameras to review images to see if Dorner was recorded.

Police and other officials believe a $1 million reward, raised from public and private sources, will encourage residents to stay vigilant. More than 1,000 tips had come in since the reward was announced, Lt. Andrew Neiman, an LAPD spokesman, said Tuesday.

“Now it’s like the game show ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire,'” said Anthony Burke, supervisory inspector for the U.S. Marshals regional fugitive taskforce. “Instead of one contestant, we’ve got 100,000, and there’s only one question you have to answer. All they have to answer is where he’s at, and we can take it from there.”

Neiman also said investigators obtained new security video from a Sport Chalet sporting goods store in suburban Torrance but had not determined whether it shows Dorner. The video posted earlier on TMZ.com recorded a man resembling Dorner arrive with two small scuba tanks then leave with both those tanks and a larger one.

The wide-ranging search has created unusually heavy traffic backups at California border crossings into Mexico, as agents more closely inspect each car. State police in Mexico’s Baja California were given photographs of Dorner and warned to consider him armed and extremely dangerous.

A U.S. Marshals Service affidavit used to obtain a federal arrest warrant on Feb. 7 cited probable cause to believe Dorner went to Mexico, but Neiman said Tuesday that it “in no way indicates one way or the other” whether Dorner is in that country.

Authorities have obtained a no-bail arrest warrant, which allows Dorner to be apprehended anywhere, Zellerbach said.

Dorner was fired from the LAPD five years ago, when a department board determined that he falsely claimed another officer had kicked a suspect. Randal Quan represented him during the proceeding.

Quan’s daughter, Monica, and her fiance, Keith Lawrence, were found shot dead Feb. 3 in a car in the parking structure of their Irvine condominium. Last Wednesday, after discovery of the manifesto, Irvine police announced they were searching for Dorner.

Early Thursday in the Riverside County city of Corona, Dorner shot at two LAPD officers who had been dispatched to protect a possible target of Dorner, police said. One officer’s head was grazed by a bullet; the other was unharmed.

Minutes later, Dorner used a rifle to ambush two Riverside officers, killing one and seriously wounding another, authorities said. The slain officer was identified as the 34-year-old Crain. The other officer’s identity was not released to protect his family.

The Los Angeles Police Commission, the civilian board that oversees the Police Department, began its meeting Tuesday with a moment of silence for the three people Dorner is accused of killing and the wounded officers.

Chief Charlie Beck told the board that a review of Dorner’s complaints about his firing was under way. Beck earlier announced the review, saying he takes seriously complaints of racism in the department. Dorner is black.

Commissioner John Mack, a former president of the Los Angeles Urban League, said the department has made “dramatic progress” in its relationship with the African-American community.

“We want to make sure in no way do we go backwards in that relationship,” Mack said.

He praised the decision to reopen the investigation “to determine if there is validity” to Dorner’s claims.

Commissioner Rafael Bernardino said the review should examine how Dorner was hired in the first place.

“This person was unfit to be a Los Angeles police officer,” Bernardino said.

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