Los Angeles News

Torrance police shootings sparked by Christopher Dorner search

Thursday, February 07, 2013

A suspect manhunt led to two mistaken identity police shootings in Torrance within minutes and blocks of each other Thursday.

The first shooting occurred in the 19500 block of Redbeam Avenue at 5:20 a.m.

Authorities said officers came across vehicles similar to the one sought by authorities searching for Christopher Dorner, a former LAPD officer suspected of killing three people.

Dorner, 33, posted a manifesto on Facebook outlining plans to kill the families of those who wronged him. LAPD officers were guarding one of the officers on Dorner's manifesto hit list when a blue Toyota truck matching the suspect's vehicle drove up to the scene. Police opened fire and aimed dozens of rounds at the occupants of the truck who they mistakenly believed to be Dorner's.

Two uninvolved female civilians inside the vehicle were wounded and rushed to local hospitals. One injured female victim suffered a minor bullet wound, and the second female victim was shot twice in the back and reported in stable condition.

The victims are said to be OK but the barrage of bullets shook residents from their sleep. Howard Lee of Torrance was asleep when he said he heard "about 50 shots."

John Bennett of Torrance said one of the female victims regularly delivered newspapers in the neighborhood.

"She travels with her headlights off so that when she pulls up in somebody's driveway and delivers the newspaper she doesn't disturb them," Bennett said.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Times confirmed one of the women injured worked as a newspaper deliverer Thursday and released the following statement: "We have learned that an employee of an independent distributor, which delivers the Los Angeles Times, along with a family member were victims of this morning's shooting in Torrance," the statement read. "On behalf of everyone here at the LA Times, we hope those those injured have a swift and full recovery."

LAPD Chief said the area was on heightened patrol due to Dorner's manifesto and the Inland Empire police officer shootings.

"The LAPD officers assigned observed a vehicle matching the suspect's vehicle driving down the street with the lights turned out," Beck said. "Officers approached the vehicle and an officer-involved shooting occurred. Tragically, we believe that this was a case of mistaken identity by the officers."

Torrance police were involved in a second shooting near Flager Lane and Beryl Street a short time later. The incident involved a black truck they mistakenly believed to be Dorner's. The patrol unit, occupied by two officers, encountered the truck, collided with the vehicle, and an officer-involved shooting occured. No one was hurt in the shooting.

No information on what prompted the gunfire was released.

Sgt. Chris Roosen of the Torrance Police Department did, however, say there were reports released that Dorner was in the area.

"There was a broadcast that we believe he was on the 105 Freeway and off at Sepulveda so we believe that yes, he was coming to this area," Roosen said.

The Torrance Police Department has sent their condolences and prayers to all law enforcement agencies, their families, and all innocent people who have been affected by Christopher Dorner's actions.

Due to the Torrance shooting's initial presumed connection to the wanted murder suspect, the LAPD is handling both investigations.

The incidents have left the community rattled.

"These things just happen," Tycanne of Torrance said. "All we can do is keep our doors locked and stay aware.

While some neighbors said they understand police had a job to do, others said it was just too dangerous a gamble.

"It does make you uneasy that it seems like it's shoot first and then figure out what's going on," said Torrance resident Stephanie Lee.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
shooting, murder, homicide investigation, chris dorner, los angeles news
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