Timeline in manhunt for ex-L.A. cop turned fugitive

Posted at 6:31 AM, Feb 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-12 06:31:06-05

Dorner Newest PhotosBy CNN Staff

(CNN) — The manhunt continues for a former Los Angeles police officer and Navy Reserve officer accused of shooting three police officers — killing one — and slaying two other people.

Christopher Jordan Dorner, 33, had threatened to target law enforcement officers in retaliation for being fired more than four years ago, authorities say.

Here’s a timeline of the case:

2001-2002: Dorner graduates college, joins Navy

Dorner grew up in Southern California before attending Southern Utah University, where he was a running back for the school’s football team. He graduated with a degree in political science in 2001.

He joined the Navy after college, receiving a commission as an ensign in July 2002. He trained in river warfare units and eventually was rated as a rifle marksman and pistol expert, according to Pentagon records.

2005-2006: Dorner starts LAPD career

Dorner enrolled in the LAPD Academy in February 2005. After graduation, he spent a few months on the streets as a trainee.

2006-2007: In Iraq with the Navy

The Navy recalled Dorner to active duty, and he served a 2006-2007 stint in Iraq guarding oil platforms.

2007-2011: Return to LAPD, termination and appeals

After his tour in Iraq, Dorner returned to the LAPD in 2007. Shortly after his return, he reported excessive force by a fellow police officer in July 2007.

In a letter allegedly written by Dorner and provided to CNN this week, he said he was relieved of his duties in 2008 after he made the report against the other officer. The letter was provided to CNN by an LAPD source after this week’s manhunt began.

Dorner tried to get his job back in 2008, but LAPD’s Board of Rights rejected his appeal. He eventually took the case to court, but a judge ruled against his appeal in October 2011.

February 1: Dorner leaves Navy

Dorner was honorably discharged from the the U.S. Navy Reserve as a lieutenant, according to Pentagon records.

February 3: Two killed in Irvine

Two people — Monica Quan, 27, and her fiance, Keith Lawrence — were killed in Irvine, California, while sitting in a vehicle at a parking structure, authorities said. Quan was the daughter of former LAPD officer Randal Quan, who, it is claimed in the letter, bungled Dorner’s LAPD termination appeal.

February 5: Dorner at Navy hotel in San Diego

Dorner checked into the Navy Gateway Inns and Suites on San Diego’s massive naval base, Navy Cmdr. Brad Fagan said. Dorner likely had access to the hotel from having been honorably discharged, which would mean he would have an ID card, Fagan said.

Dorner failed to properly check out of the Navy hotel February 6, though he was not believed to still be on base, Fagan said.

February 6: Dorner named suspect; police announce threats

Authorities named Dorner a suspect in the Irvine killings. Authorities said he issued a “multipage manifesto” allegedly implicating himself in the slayings and complaining of his treatment in the LAPD.

Police said Dorner made violent threats against Los Angeles police officers. Police assigned officers to protect people connected to the threats.

February 6: Attempted boat theft in San Diego

Investigators said they believe Dorner tried to steal a boat from someone in San Diego. Dorner “was not successful, and he fled the location,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.

Later, a wallet is found containing Dorner’s identification and an LAPD detective’s badge near the San Diego airport, police said.

February 7: LAPD officer shot in the surburb of Corona

In Corona, Dorner fired at Los Angeles police officers who were assigned to protect a person connected to Dorner’s threats, police said.

One officer was grazed in the head; the wound was not life-threatening, LAPD said.

The officers returned fire, and Dorner fled, police said.

“Due to damage to the police vehicle because of his gunshots, the officers were unable to pursue him,” Beck said.

February 7: Officer killed, another shot in Riverside

Riverside police said two of its officers were shot in an ambush at an intersection. One died, and the other was taken to a hospital.

Dorner was named a suspect. Riverside police said they believe Dorner drove up to the officers’ vehicle, which was stopped at a stoplight, and fired at the officers with a rifle.

The officer who died, a 34-year-old whose name wasn’t immediately released, had been on the Riverside force for 11 years, according to Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz.

The other officer, a 27-year-old, was “seriously wounded but we expect a full recovery,” Diaz said.

Police learned of the shooting when a Good Samaritan picked up a police radio and made a distress call on behalf of the wounded officers, Riverside police say.

February 7: Police shoot two in Torrance in ‘mistaken identity’

While searching for Dorner, police shot two people in Torrance in a case of mistaken identity, the Los Angeles police chief said.

LAPD officers assigned to protect someone who “was under the most serious levels of threat” saw a vehicle in the early morning hours that looked like Dorner’s, Beck said. The vehicle was “driving down the street with the lights turned out,” he said.

The officers shot two people in the vehicle, but neither turned out to be connected to the Dorner case, Beck said.

“Tragically, we believe that this was a case of mistaken identity by the officers,” Beck said.

Both were taken to a hospital. One was in stable condition Thursday with two gunshot wounds, and the other was expected to be released shortly, Beck said.

“I … feel great sadness for the injuries suffered by … the two uninvolved citizens in Torrance,” Beck said.

The Los Angeles officers involved in the shooting were put on paid administrative leave.

Police also shot at another pickup matching the description of Dorner’s vehicle in Torrance, but no one was injured in that incident, according to a senior law enforcement source.

February 7: Details of manifesto

An LAPD source gave CNN a copy of the manifesto that Dorner allegedly wrote.

In the letter, he allegedly threatened to use his Navy training to harm police officers involved in his case and their families.

“I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty,” Dorner allegedly wrote.

The letter writer claimed he was terminated after he reported excessive force by a fellow officer, and said his attacks were retribution for his termination, as well as a culture of racism and violence he said continues within the department.

February 7: Dorner’s truck found on fire, police say

Investigators found Dorner’s truck abandoned and burning on a forestry road near Big Bear Lake, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said.

The discovery spurred more officers to converge on the area to conduct beefed up patrols, staff checkpoints and go to every residence in the mountain community. McMahon acknowledged it was possible the fire was set as a diversionary tactic, though law enforcement wasn’t taking any changes.

Police searched at least 400 homes in the area.

February 8: Massive search in the mountains

The San Bernardino County Sheriff said the hunt for Dorner was “extremely dangerous.”

“We’re going to continue searching until we either discover he left the mountain or we find him,” McMahon told reporters at Big Bear Lake.

SWAT teams used snowcats to zoom up the mountain while other officers prowled forest roads in an armored personnel carrier. Schools in the community shut down amid the tension.

Elsewhere, U.S. Navy installations throughout California and Nevada were “maintaining a heightened security posture,” a U.S. military official told CNN.

February 8: Broken truck, plenty of weapons

As the search continued, additional details on Dorner and the truck he allegedly drove to Big Bear Lake emerged.

The truck had a broken axle, which would have prevented the vehicle from moving, and footprints showed that Dorner apparently doubled back into the nearby village, said a source with knowledge of the investigation.

It was unclear where Dorner went from there or by what means, the source said.

Guns found in the truck also burned, but authorities believe Dorner may have as many as 30 guns with him, the source told CNN. Dorner was trained in counterinsurgency and intelligence in the Navy, according to the source.

In La Palma, California, police conducted a search of the home of Dorner’s mother, and she and a daughter were cooperating with investigators, Irvine police Lt. Bill Whalen said.

February 8: No sighting of suspect

Authorities temporarily suspend their search until the following day.

“The search is continuing,” said spokeswoman Cindy Bachman of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. “First of all, they have to rest. They have been going at this for two days.”

Police expected to complete a search of more than 200 vacant cabins. Overnight patrols in the town were beefed up with 12 extra two-officer teams.

February 9: The search goes on

Bundled up in winter gear, search teams returned to the pine forests and trails surrounding Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains to search for Dorner.

Questions continued about whether Dorner was still in the area, but police in California, Nevada and Arizona remained on alert.

“The possibility exists that he is here, somewhere in the forest, so we’re going to keep looking … until we determine that he’s not here,” Bachman said.

Officers trudged through knee-high snow with rifles at the ready. Patrols again visit homes in Big Bear Lake, knocking on doors and peeking into windows.

February 9: Police to review Dorner complaint

Los Angeles police announced the department would reopen the investigation into the case that led to Dorner’s termination.

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

Police vowed they would catch Dorner and urged the former officer to turn himself in.

In Big Bear Lake, resident Justin Owen said police asked him whether he had seen suspicious activity. No, he told them.

“I don’t think he is up here, to be quite honest with you, in this quite brutal weather,” Owen told CNN.

But his father, Ed Owen, said he believes Dorner may be hiding in any of the houses that serve as second residences in the mountains and are often vacant.

“I would guess the occupancy rate on my block is just 10%,” he said.

February 10: A scaled-back search and $1 million reward

The manhunt for Dorner began Sunday morning with about 60 law enforcement officers, said Lehua Pahia of the San Bernardino County sheriff’s department. By early afternoon, the effort was scaled down to include about 25 investigators, a helicopter equipped with body-heat sensors and other specialized equipment.

Authorities offered little information as to where the search was leading them, beyond maintaining its focus on the Big Bear area because Dorner was believed to have been there Friday.

Later Sunday, police and municipal officials from several Southern California communities addressed reporters in Los Angeles. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the establishment of a $1 million reward — which includes funds from businesses, private donors and community groups — for information leading to Dorner’s capture.

“This search is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when,” Villaraigosa said. “And I want Christopher Dorner to know that.”

February 11: Warrant allows for Dorner’s arrest ‘anywhere’

As the manhunt entered its second week, a “no bail” warrant was issued for Dorner’s arrest after the Riverside County district attorney filed a murder charge against the fugitive for the killing of Riverside Police Officer Michael Crain.

“That allows him to be apprehended anywhere within California, out of state or out of the country,” District Attorney Paul Zellerbach said. The murder charge is accompanied by two “special circumstances,” including killing a police officer on duty and firing a weapon from a vehicle, Zellerbach said.

Dorner was also charged with the attempted murder of three other police officers, including a Riverside officer who was wounded when Crain was killed. The other two charges accuse Dorner of opening fire on two LAPD police officers, wounding one, in the suburban city of Corona.

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