(LOS ANGELES) — Armed with assault rifles and multiple other weapons, Christopher Dorner is at large and reportedly hunting cops in California. A highly trained former Los Angeles police officer himself, Dorner has now become a police officer’s worst nightmare.
“He knows what he’s doing,” L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck told reporters Thursday. “We trained him. He was also a member of the armed forces. It is extremely worrisome and scary, especially for the police officers involved.”
In a “manifesto” attributed to Dorner posted on the Internet, the former cop boasts about his combat skills, writing that he will utilize every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordnance and survival training he had been given in the LAPD and in his career in the Navy. Dorner’s LAPD trainers rated him an “expert” sharpshooter with a 9-millimeter handgun, and a “marksman” with an M-16 rifle.
Former FBI agent and ABC consultant Brad Garrett says Dorner’s weapons training and his familiarity with police protocol make him an exceptionally lethal adversary.
“He knows how to move around and is very familiar with how to use firearms,” Garrett said. “And knowing how the LAPD and other departments search for suspects, he will certainly avoid the logical places where police would look, like prior homes or locations that he used. He would also get rid of any electronics that might be used to track him,” Garrett said. “He’s probably using a pre-paid cellphone.”
The truck owned and driven by Dorner during his alleged rampage through the Los Angeles area was found deserted and in flames on the side of Bear Mountain, Calif., Thursday afternoon.
Heavily armed SWAT team members descended onto Bear Mountain from a helicopter manned with snipers to investigate the fire. The San Bernadino Sheriff’s Department confirmed the car was Dorner’s.
Dorner has already cut a wide path of destruction, according to authorities. Chief Charlie Beck said at a news conference Thursday that Dorner “ambushed” two Riverside, Calif., officers as they sat in their squad car at a traffic light in the early morning hours. One officer, a 35-year-old, 11-year veteran of the force, was killed. His 27-year-old partner was seriously wounded. Garrett says the ambush shows Dorner’s skill as a reported human hunter.
“These officers apparently were taken by complete surprise. They didn’t know they were being shot at until they were shot.”
Dorner is also wanted in the killings of Monica Quan and her fiancé, Keith Lawrence, who were found shot to death in their car Sunday night, according to Irvine Police Chief David L. Maggard. Quan is the daughter of a retired LAPD official, and Dorner allegedly threatened that former official and his family, among others, in his manifesto, according to police.
“Other people besides law enforcement officers have been taken out,” Garrett says. “It’s clear that he thinks everyone is fair game. This is a dangerous and treacherous guy who for everyone’s safety he has got to be taken off the street.”
Early Thursday morning, before they believe he shot at any police officers, Dorner allegedly went to a yacht club near San Diego, where police say he attempted to steal a boat and flee to Mexico.
He aborted the attempted theft when the boat’s propeller became entangled in a rope, law enforcement officials said. It was then that he is believed to have headed to Riverside, where he allegedly shot two police officers.
Dorner was fired from the LAPD in 2008 for making false statements about another officer’s alleged brutality, and a second cop’s alleged use of the “N” word. When Dorner’s charges were found to be false by an LAPD internal review and subsequent appeals, he was fired from the force. In his “manifesto” titled “Last Resort,” Dorner said he had “lost everything” because the LAPD suppressed the truth, and that would lead to deadly consequences.
Now the manhunt for Dorner is in overdrive, and one source tells ABC News that just about anyone with a badge in Southern California is looking for him.
Local law enforcement agencies have activated “Code Alex,” which triggers local police agencies to take up pre-planned observation posts as part of a mutual aid plan. And up and down the California coast, officers are being warned that they face a skilled and dangerous enemy.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
David Williams, CNN
Lauren del Valle and Shachar Peled, CNN
Paul R. La Monica, CNN