Dorner’s Truck Abandoned After Axle Broke, Reports Say

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The Irvine Police Department obtained this image of Christopher Dorner from surveillance video taken at an Orange County hotel on Jan. 28. The purpose of distributing this image is to share how Dorner appeared in the recent past.

CITY NEWS SERVICE

A former Los Angeles police officer hiding after three murders abandoned his truck when its axle broke, leading to a door-to-door search at Big Bear that entered its third day today, two TV networks reported.

Dorner may have as many as 30 weapons with him now, CNN reported. Other weapons were burned inside the truck as it was set on fire at about 8:20 a.m. Thursday.

CBS and CNN both quoted inside sources, and reported that an arsenal of weaponry and survival gear was found inside the burned-out pickup truck that Christopher Jordan Dorner apparently torched near the Big Bear Ski Area on Thursday morning.

The news networks said their sources could not be named, as they were not authorized to speak.

Today, law enforcement agents from across the state continued to assist San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies as they combed the newly-fallen snow around the 9.500-foot-high ski areas, where heavy snow fell over two days. But no new leads have been disclosed.

SWAT teams from as far away as San Ysidro remained in the mountain resort for a third day, in some cases breaking into cabins that are routinely locked up for winter, as they sought Dorner.

The Big Bear Lake Resort Association reassured the public that “a strong police presence remains in Big Bear around the clock,” and in a news release noted that ski areas and other attractions were open. Brilliant sunshine and a foot of fresh snow were reported.

At San Diego, a massive traffic jam developed at the Mexican border today, where only two of the five southbound lanes were open. Officers wearing body armor and cradling rifles were photographed watching traffic heading through the unusual bottleneck at the Mexican border.

But police and federal agents would not confirm if the unusual police tactics at the border was a result of the manhunt for Dorner at the busiest border crossing in the world.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck refused to make any comments about the manhunt, as he attended a City Hall prayer breakfast.

Police followed up leads across the Southland today, and suburban police reported that they had been assisting LAPD guard details at police officers’ homes across the region. Dorner’s threats, listed on an Internet manifesto, included promises to kill police and their family members at their homes.

But police and the sheriff’s office revealed no new solid clues or possible sightings of Dorner, 33, who was fired by the Los Angeles Police Department five years ago.

In San Diego, both police and the Sheriff’s Department were maintaining regular staffing levels, spokespersons told City News Service. A Border Patrol SWAT team was at Big Bear, assisting the search there.

Dorner, a former Navy officer, had been staying at the Navy Base Point Loma and had tried to steal a boat during his crime spree, police believe.

Dorner vowed online Monday to kill named and unnamed LAPD officers and their families to avenge what he described as a campaign of unfair treatment that cost him his career. Dorner also allegedly threatened to target officers from other agencies if they tried to halt his vendetta.

The former Navy reservist suspected in the slayings of 28-year-old Monica Quan and her finance, 27-year-old Keith Lawrence, who were found shot to death Sunday night in a parked car in Irvine, and the ambush killing of a Riverside police officer four days later.

Quan was the daughter of a now-retired LAPD captain who represented Dorner at the Board of Rights hearing that led to his firing, and the killings were carried out in an act of revenge outlined in the lengthy manifesto, which blames Quan’s father for losing his job.

“We’re at regular staffing at this point, but we have other special units that are monitoring what’s going on and if things come up, they’ll be able to respond, but there’s nothing at this point because we don’t have any information about him bring in this area,” said sheriff’s Lt. Scott Amos.

San Diego police Sgt. Ray Battrick said SDPD personnel were being updated with any new information that came up in the investigation into what he said was “a dangerous individual.”

On Friday, law enforcement personnel across San Diego County investigated numerous unfounded reports of Dorner sightings.

Law enforcement agencies throughout San Diego County went on high alert Thursday after Dorner’s LAPD badge and identification were found near Lindbergh Field and a possible sighting of the suspect was reported at Navy Gateway Inn and Suites, where he had stayed on Tuesday. The hotel went into lockdown status for several hours amid the manhunt.

By mid-afternoon Friday, the search had moved onto San Bernardino County after Dorner’s pickup truck was found burning just off a forest road in Big Bear.

All the areas where someone could have walked away from the truck were being searched, Cindy Bachman, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.

Anyone spotting Dorner, whose last known address is in La Palma, should consider him armed and “extremely dangerous” and should not approach or try contacting him but instead call 911 immediately, police said. A tip line has been established and can be reached at (949) 724-7192.

Police Targeted at Grammys?

Los Angeles police are worried about being targeted at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, a former Los Angeles deputy police chief said today.

John Miller, now a senior correspondent at CBS News, said today that Dorner’s plans could include targeting a police command post at a major event, such as the nationally telecast Grammy broadcast at the Nokia Theater.

Speaking on the “CBS Morning News” today, Miller said he has talked with Los Angeles police and found them to “have an anxiety factor that is unbelievable.”

Miller said Dorner probably did not plan to abandon his truck, loaded with weapons, in Big Bear.

“The reason it was there was not because it was where he was going, he broke the axle,” Miller said on today’s broadcast.

“He probably left only the ammo he couldn’t carry,” the CBS News senior correspondent said. Miller, a former FBI assistant director, served as LAPD’s intelligence chief under then-chief William Bratton.

Dorner, Miller theorized, “may have a plan” and “could circle back and attack the command post.”

“Look at the organic things that happen in Los Angeles,” Miller said. “There will be the Grammys Sunday in Los Angeles, where you will have a major police command post.

“I’ve spoken with people there and their problems are very interesting. One problem is, can they get enough cops to police the Grammys, when they have had everyone out deployed on this?”

Miller’s comments were made on today’s national telecast, and posted at cbsnews.com later in the day.

Case to Be Reviewed

Beck today ordered a review of Dorner’s 2007 complaint and an investigation of allegations of unfair treatment in his termination from the LAPD made in his manifesto.

“I do this not to appease a murderer,” Beck said. “I do it to reassure the public that their police department is transparent and fair in all the things we do.”

Beck said he directed members of the Professionals Standards Bureau and the Special Assistant for Constitutional Policing personnel to completely review Dorner’s complaint from 2007, including another examination of all the evidence and another interview of the witnesses.

“We will also investigate any allegations made in his manifesto which were not included in his original complaint,” Beck said.

Dorner worked as a police officer from Feb. 7, 2005, until Sept. 4, 2008, when his employment was terminated for allegedly making false statements about his training officer, according to police records.

In the multi-page manifesto Dorner posted on the Internet Monday — the day after he allegedly shot and killed the daughter and future son-in-law of the ex-LAPD captain who represented him in his failed appeal to get his job back — Dorner made multiple allegations of racism in the department, stating, “The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days.”

Beck said it has been hard to change the culture of the LAPD, but it is a better organization now than ever before.

“I am aware of the ghosts of the LAPD’s past and one of my biggest concerns is that they will be resurrected by Dorner’s allegations of racism within the department,” Beck said. “Dorner’s actions may cause a pause in our increasingly positive relationship with the community, but it will not stop our commitment to provide courteous, professional and constitutional policing to each individual this department makes contact with.”

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