CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

National News

February 11, 2013

$1M reward for ex-Los Angeles officer prompts tips

IRVINE, Calif. — A $1 million reward for a fugitive ex-police officer wanted in the slayings of three people took authorities to a San Fernando Valley home improvement store but so far prompted no credible leads in the search for Christopher Dorner.

The manhunt for him, coupled with the need for added security at Sunday’s Grammy Awards, left the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department stretched thin. A tactical alert began Sunday afternoon and remained in effect Monday for all city officers, which means they’re staying on duty beyond their shifts.

Besides responding to the usual calls for service, police have been protecting dozens of families in the area considered targets based on Dorner’s Facebook rant against those he held responsible for ending his career with the LAPD five years ago.

Among those Dorner, 33, is suspected of killing is a Riverside police officer, and on the fourth day of the manhunt, authorities put up a $1 million reward for information leading to his capture.

“Our dedication to catch this killer remains steadfast. Our confidence remains unshaken,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at a news conference alongside police chiefs and mayors from Irvine and Riverside. “We will not tolerate this reign of terror.”

Several tips came in within a few hours after the award announcement, including a reported Dorner sighting that had police surrounding and evacuating a Lowe’s Home Improvement store in LA’s San Fernando Valley, police spokesman Gus Villanueva said. A search of the store yielded no evidence that Dorner was there or had been there.

After days without resolution, Dorner’s fugitive status caused concern among some and downright fear among others in Irvine, an upscale community that the FBI consistently ranks among the safest cities in the U.S.

“If he did come around this corner, what could happen? We’re in the crossfire, with the cops right there,” said Irvine resident Joe Palacio, who lives down the street from the home surrounded by authorities protecting a police captain mentioned in Dorner’s posting.

“I do think about where I would put my family,” he said. “Would we call 911? Would we hide in the closet?”

The neighborhood has been flooded with authorities since Wednesday. Residents have seen police helicopters circle and cruisers stake out schools. Some have responded by keeping their children home. Others no longer walk their dogs at night.

Police also were looking into a taunting phone call to the father of the woman they believe Dorner killed last week.

Two law enforcement officers who requested anonymity because of the ongoing investigation told The Associated Press they are trying to determine whether Dorner made the call telling retired police Capt. Randal Quan that he should have done a better job protecting his daughter.

The bodies of Monica Quan and her fiance were found shot dead last Sunday in Irvine, marking the start of the high-profile case.

Things escalated early Thursday, when police say Dorner got into a shootout with police in Corona, grazing an LAPD officer’s head with a bullet before escaping. Authorities believe he then used a rifle to ambush two Riverside police officers, killing one and seriously wounding the other.

Police had withheld the names of victims both living and dead victims because of fears of Dorner targeting their families, but on Sunday the Riverside Police Department released the name of the officer killed, 34-year-old ex-Marine and 11 year department veteran Michael Crain.

The Anaheim native and father of two will be buried at Riverside National Cemetery on Wednesday.

Riverside police Chief Sergio Diaz said police had hoped Dorner would be in custody by now, but they decided to proceed with the identification and public memorial.

“We’re not going to fail our officer and our hero,” Diaz said Sunday. “We’re going to bury him.”

After Thursday’s shootings in Corona and Riverside, officers in Torrance twice mistakenly identified people in their search for Dorner.

A lawyer for the driver of a pickup peppered with police bullets said police were reckless. Surfer Dan Perdue was driving to the beach early Thursday when his Honda Ridgeline was stopped by officers guarding the home of a law enforcement official targeted by Dorner.

The pickup resembled Dorner’s Nissan Titan. After driving away, the Ridgeline was hit by a squad car.

Perdue attorney Robert Sheahen tells the Daily Breeze of Torrance (http://bit.ly/12F0uON ) the pickup spun around and officers began shooting. Perdue wasn’t wounded.

A police department statement says Perdue’s vehicle was suddenly leaving the area and officers on heightened alert took appropriate measures.

The shooting was blocks from the mistaken identity LAPD shooting of two women delivering newspapers.

The manhunt continued Monday in the San Bernardino mountains near the ski resort town of Big Bear, where authorities found Dorner’s burned out pickup truck Thursday. Police have since said they discovered weapons and camping gear inside the vehicle.

The search scaled down as the weekend went on, but a helicopter with heat-seeking technology scanned the area as two-dozen officers went back to some of the 600 cabins they earlier visited door to door.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said despite the dwindling search, there was not another area that appeared more likely than Big Bear where Dorner might be, saying the suspect’s chances to plan beforehand may have helped him remain elusive.

“We have nothing currently better, Beck said at Sunday’s news conference.

Police and city officials believe the $1 million reward, raised from both public and private sources, would give them better options.

Beck said the money, believed the biggest reward in local history, was not difficult to pull together.

“It was amazingly, amazingly easy,” he said.

The chief said the case is distinct from most that offer rewards for fleeing fugitives because police strongly believe Dorner would strike again if given the chance.

“This is not about catching a fugitive suspect, it’s about preventing a future crime, most likely a murder,” Beck said. “This is an act, make no mistake about it, of domestic terrorism.”

He deflected questions about whether the reward applied whether Dorner were dead or alive, calling the phrase “ugly” and saying he hoped no one else was injured in the ordeal, including the suspect.

With little apparent evidence pointing to Dorner’s whereabouts, worrisome questions emerged: How long could the intense search be sustained? And, if Dorner continues to evade capture, how do authorities protect dozens of former police colleagues whom he has publicly targeted?

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the department has deployed 50 protection details to guard officers and their families who are deemed targets in Dorner’s manifesto.

“It can’t be one guy with a gun in a living room,” Smith said, suggesting that more officers would be necessary to keep families safe.

The department, however, is looking for alternatives if the search for Dorner stretches on, whether it’s reducing the numbers of officers or something else, he said.

There were no plans to reduce protections until Dorner was in custody, Los Angeles police Sgt. Rudy Lopez said.

As long as Dorner’s whereabouts are unknown, the police department must provide protection to those named in his rant, said Chuck Drago, a Florida-based police consultant.

“We realize it costs money and it gets expensive, but this is as clear of a threat as you can get,” he said. “We know that if he’s able to get to these targets then he’s probably able to hurt them. The money is always an issue but not when it’s somebody’s life at stake.”

———

Associated Press writer Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles contributed. Abdollah can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/LATams.

 

1
Text Only
National News
  • Fort Hood (UPDATED) Officials: 4 dead, including gunman, at Fort Hood

    A gunman opened fire Wednesday at Fort Hood in an attack that left four dead, including the shooter, law enforcement officials said.
    One of the officials, citing official internal U.S. Justice Department updates, said 14 others were hurt. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information by name.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • mfp file Hoffner Fired coach unjustly accused of visiting porn sites

    The president of Minnesota State University-Mankato accused a football coach of looking at Internet porn on a work computer before firing him, an arbitrator has revealed. The official said the claim could not be supported, and the coach shouldn't have been fired.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • High School Stabbings 4 students seriously hurt in Pa. school stabbings

    A student armed with a knife went on a stabbing and slashing spree at a high school near Pittsburgh on Wednesday morning, leaving as many as 20 people injured, including four students who suffered serious wounds, authorities said.

    April 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • Obit Ultimate Warrior Former pro wrestler Ultimate Warrior dies at 54

    James Hellwig, better known as former pro wrestler The Ultimate Warrior, has died, the WWE said. He was 54.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_amazonfiretv.jpg Amazon introduces Fire TV to challenge Apple in living rooms

    Amazon.com Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is stepping up efforts to win over customers in their living rooms with a $99 TV box for watching digitally delivered shows and movies, challenging Apple's TV device.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Washington Mudslide Death toll in Washington mudslide rises to 30

    As medical examiners painstakingly piece together the identities and lives of the 30 people known killed when a mudslide wiped out a small Washington community, one mystery troubles them.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Fort Hood Fort Hood gunman sought mental health treatment

    An Iraq War veteran being treated for mental illness was the gunman who opened fire at Fort Hood, killing three people and wounding 16 others before committing suicide, in an attack on the same Texas military base where more than a dozen people were slain in 2009, authorities said.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supreme Court Campaign Big donors may give even more under court’s ruling

    The Supreme Court ruling Wednesday erasing a long-standing limit on campaign donations will allow a small number of very wealthy donors to give even more than is currently the case, according to students of the complex campaign finance system, and could strengthen the establishment in both parties.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo