Inland Empire News
Christopher Dorner, ex-LAPD cop, charged with murder
BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (KABC) -- Christopher Dorner, the fugitive ex-Los Angeles police officer, was charged Monday with murdering a Riverside officer.
Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach also charged Dorner with the attempted murder of another Riverside officer and two Los Angeles Police Department officers. The charges would make 33-year-old Dorner eligible for the death penalty.
The separate shootings on the Riverside officers and LAPD officers happened early Thursday after Dorner became the target of a manhunt. Dorner was identified as the prime suspect in the killings of a former LAPD captain's daughter and her fiance in Irvine the previous weekend.
On Monday evening, a hotel in Tijuana was raided in search for Dorner. However, he was not found.
In an affidavit filed by the U.S. Marshals Service and obtained by Eyewitness News, the agency says, "there is probable cause to believe that Dorner has moved and traveled... from California to Mexico with the intent to avoid prosecution." However, there have been no confirmed sightings of Dorner crossing the border or of him inside Mexico.
The search for Dorner resumed in the Big Bear area early Monday. Sheriff's forged into the snowy wilderness looking for clues that might lead them to the accused cop killer. Despite the couple inches of fresh snow that fell overnight, about 30 law enforcement officers continued searching the remote part of the San Bernardino Mountains, conducting door-to-door checks of unoccupied vacation homes, rentals and cabins.
After no credible leads were discovered over the weekend, the number of officers patrolling and searching the area was considerably lowered. Nevertheless, deputy sheriffs have vowed that until they can determine that Dorner has left the Big Bear area, the manhunt will continue.
TMZ obtained surveillance video of a man who looks like Dorner buying scuba gear at a Sports Chalet in Torrance two days before the killings began. The LAPD said it is investigating whether it really is Dorner in the video.
Dorner is believed to have posted an online manifesto last week declaring war against the LAPD for wrongly firing him. His rant posted on Facebook identified his targets in his revenge plan. The LAPD has since gone to extreme measures to protect the dozens of families and law enforcement officers mentioned in the suspect's lengthy manifesto.
A $1 million reward was announced by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Sunday for information leading up to the suspect's arrest.
On Monday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the department had been flooded with tips every since they announced the reward. One of the most notable was a tip that led authorities to a Lowe's in Northridge after someone reported seeing Dorner. The home improvement store was evacuated, but Dorner was not found
"We have three times the amount of tips that we did yesterday," Beck said. "We're following up on every one of them so hopefully there's a nugget in there that will lead us to his capture."
In less than 24 hours since the reward was announced, police believe they may have some clues to help capture the fugitive. But Beck said investigating the different leads is a time-consuming process.
"You have to remember how these things come in," Beck said. "They come in by the hundreds so you have to triage them. You have to assign detectives to them, all of that, so it's a laborious process, very resource intensive, very time intensive. We may in fact have the clue that leads to him in our hands right now. We just don't know."
Authorities have focused their search in the Big Bear area for the past few days but haven't found any evidence yet to suggest Dorner is still there. Thursday, investigators discovered some footprints near the scene of a burned Nissan pickup truck that belonged to Dorner, but those were ruled out after investigators determined they came from a cross-country skier. Investigators also found a kicked-in door in one of those abandoned cabins, but they ruled that out as old damage. Also, Dorner's mother owns undeveloped land in Arrowbear, about 35 miles from Big Bear. No clues turned up there either.
On Saturday, sources told Eyewitness News that two AR-15 rifles were found in Dorner's truck in Big Bear, and the truck had a broken axle.
Bear Valley Unified School District schools resumed for the first time Monday since the lockdown and closure Thursday after Dorner's truck was first spotted.
A man who served with Dorner in the Navy spoke exclusively with Eyewitness news. The man, who did not want to be publicly identified, said Dorner became obsessed with the possibility a fellow sailor was wearing an insignia on his uniform he didn't earn and looked through his colleague's personnel files to report him.
"I would say the trust, the line was drawn," the man said. "This is how far you can trust him."
Fatal shootings linked to Dorner
As the search continues, more details are coming to light regarding the police officer believed to have been killed by Dorner. Michael Crain was killed in the line of duty when he and his partner were ambushed while on routine patrol around 1:35 a.m. Thursday. The officers were in their patrol car stopped at a red light. The second officer, a trainee, was seriously wounded. The second officer's name has not been released.
Crain, an 11-year veteran of the Riverside Police Department and an elite member of the department's SWAT team, was born in Anaheim and raised in Riverside. The 34-year-old victim was a former U.S. Marine, having served two tours of duty in Kuwait as a rifleman. He's survived by his wife, his 10-year-old son, and his 4-year-old daughter.
Jim Walker, who coached Crain in high school, said the officer had a big heart and a huge personality before his usually straight face.
"I know Mike, you know, if he lived his live like he lived it in high school, he lived every day and used up the whole 24 hours," Walker said. "I know he probably did that for the Riverside Police Department as well and he gave, gave, gave."
A fund has been set up for anyone who'd like to donate to Crain's family or the family of the other unidentified officer that was wounded.
Checks can be mailed to:
Riverside Police Officers Association Assistance Fund (RPOA)
1965 Chicago Ave, Suite B
Riverside, CA 92507
A funeral service has been arranged for Crain at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Grove Community Church at 19900 Grove Community Dr. in Riverside.
Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said law enforcements officers will not rest until justice is served.
"Because this individual is targeting families we were hoping that by this point he would be in custody, clearly that hasn't happened," Diaz said, "but we're going to bury him. And we're not going to fail to recognize our officer, our hero."
In Corona, investigators said Dorner shot at two LAPD officers who had been dispatched to protect a possible target of Dorner's. One officer's head was grazed by a bullet and the other was unharmed.
Dorner is also suspected of fatally shooting Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence inside a car in the parking garage of their Irvine apartment complex.
The killings sparked what the LAPD calls the largest manhunt in Southern California history.
Saturday, authorities announced that a task force has been assembled to track down Dorner. The task force includes the Los Angeles, Irvine and Riverside police departments, along with the FBI and U.S. Marshals, and other allied law enforcement agencies in the region.
Authorities emphasize that Dorner is armed and considered extremely dangerous. If seen, do not attempt to contact him. Call 911.
Anyone with tips on Dorner is asked to contact the LAPD at (213) 486-6860 or (800) 222-8477. Tips can also ben sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
shooting, san bernardino county, chris dorner, inland empire news
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