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Christopher Dorner shootings and manhunt

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Starting February 3, 2013, Christopher Dorner, 33, a fired Los Angeles police officer, began a series of shootings in Orange, Los Angeles, and Riverside counties in California, United States. The victims were law enforcement officers and civilians, including law enforcement families and those who were misidentified as the suspect and fired upon by police. Dorner killed four people and wounded three others. During the pursuit of Dorner, three innocent people were injured by law enforcement. The rampage ended on February 12, 2013, when Dorner died during a standoff with police at a cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Christopher Dorner shootings and manhunt
Location Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County
Date February 3–12, 2013
Target Police officers and their families
Attack type
Siege, spree killing, shootout
Deaths 5 (including the perpetrator)
Non-fatal injuries
6 (3 by the perpetrator, 2 by LAPD, 1 by Torrance P.D.)
Perpetrator Christopher Dorner

A manifesto reportedly posted by Dorner on Facebook declared "unconventional and asymmetric warfare" upon the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), their families, and their associates, unless the LAPD admitted publicly he was fired in retaliation for reporting excessive force.[2][3][4][5][6]

In two separate incidents during the manhunt, police shot at three civilians unrelated to Dorner, mistaking their pickup trucks for the vehicle being driven by Dorner. One of the civilians was hit by the police gunfire, another was wounded by shattered glass, and a third individual was injured when police rammed his vehicle and opened fire.[7][8]



Christopher Dorner.

Personal backgroundEdit

Christopher Jordan Dorner (September 11, 1979 – February 12, 2013) was born in New York and grew up in Los Angeles and Orange counties, in Southern California.[9] Dorner attended Cypress High School in Cypress, CA where he graduated in 1997.[10] Dorner graduated from Southern Utah University in 2001, with a major in political science and a minor in psychology. While there, he was a football running back from 1999 to 2000.[11]

Dorner later stated that he was the only African American student in his school from first grade to seventh grade and that he had altercations due to racism.[12] When he was a teenager, Dorner decided to become a police officer and joined a youth program offered by the Police Department in La Palma.[13]

At the time of the shootings, Dorner lived in La Palma. Neighbors described him as a member of an admired, well-liked family who usually kept to himself. Dorner was previously married, with no children. Court records show his wife filed for divorce in 2007.[14]

Naval ReservistEdit

Dorner was a former United States Navy Reserve officer who was honorably discharged as a lieutenant in 2013. He was commissioned in 2002, commanded a security unit at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, served with a Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit from June 23, 2004, to February 28, 2006, and was deployed to Bahrain with Coastal Riverine Group Two from November 3, 2006, to April 23, 2007.[15] He was discharged from the United States Navy Reserve on February 1, 2013.[16]

In 2002, while training for the Naval Reserve at Vance Air Force Base, Dorner and a classmate found a bag containing nearly $8,000 that belonged to the nearby Enid Korean Church of Grace in Enid, Oklahoma. They turned it in to the police. When asked their motive, Dorner said "it's an integrity thing." "The military stresses integrity," Dorner said. "There was a couple of thousand dollars, and if people are willing to give that to a church, it must be pretty important to them." Dorner said his mother taught him honesty and integrity.[17]

During his time as a reservist, Dorner received a Navy Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon and a Navy Pistol Shot Ribbon with expert device.[18][19]

Los Angeles Police DepartmentEdit

During his time as a naval reservist, Dorner joined the Los Angeles Police Department. He entered the police academy in 2005, graduating from the academy in 2006.[13] Shortly afterwards, his duties as a probationary officer were interrupted when he was deployed by the Navy Reserve to Bahrain.

On his return from naval reserve duty in July 2007, Dorner was paired with training officer Teresa Evans to complete his probationary training. According to the Los Angeles Times, Evans said that on Dorner's first day working with her, Dorner told her that he was going to sue the LAPD after he completed his probationary period.[13]

On July 28, 2007 Dorner and Evans responded to the Doubletree Hotel in San Pedro regarding a disturbance being caused by Christopher Gettler, who suffered from schizophrenia with severe dementia.[20][21]

Allegations against training officerEdit

Two weeks after the arrest of Gettler, Evans gave Dorner a performance review that stated he needed to improve in three areas.[22] The next day Dorner filed a report alleging that Evans had used excessive force in her treatment of Gettler,[22] accusing Evans of twice kicking Gettler in the chest and once in the face while he was handcuffed and lying on the ground.[23][24][25]

The LAPD investigated the complaint, examining the allegation against Evans and the truthfulness of Dorner's report, through an internal review board of three members—two LAPD captains and a criminal defense attorney. During the seven-month investigation of Dorner's complaint, Teresa Evans was assigned to desk duty and was not allowed to earn money outside of her LAPD job. Dorner's attorney at the board hearing was former LAPD captain Randal Quan.[23]

The review board heard testimony from a number of witnesses. Three hotel employees who witnessed "most" of the incident claimed that they did not see the training officer kick the man. Gettler was brought to the police station and given medical treatment for injuries to his face, but he did not mention being kicked at that time.[13] Later that day when he was returned to his father, Gettler told his father that he had been kicked by an officer, and his father testified to that at Dorner's disciplinary hearing.[13][26] In a videotaped interview with Dorner's attorney, shown at the hearing, Gettler stated that he was kicked in the face by a female police officer on the day in the place in question; however, when Gettler testified at the hearing, his responses to questioning were described as "generally . . . incoherent and nonresponsive."[27][28]

The investigation concluded that there was no kicking and investigators later decided that Dorner had lied.[29]

Termination and failed appealEdit

Dorner was fired by the LAPD in 2008 for making false statements in his report and in his testimony against training officer Evans.[26] Dorner's attorney at the board hearing, Randal Quan, said that Dorner was treated unfairly and was being made a scapegoat.[23][30][31]

Dorner appealed his termination by the LAPD Board of Rights by filing a writ of mandamus with the Los Angeles County Superior Court.[27] Judge David Yaffe wrote that he was "uncertain whether the training officer kicked the suspect or not" but nevertheless upheld the department's decision to fire Dorner, according to the Los Angeles Times.[32] Yaffe ruled that he would presume that the LAPD's accusations that Dorner's report was false would stand even though he did not know if Dorner's report of Officer Evans kicking the suspect was false.[33] This enraged Dorner as he screamed in disbelief at the end of the hearing "I told the truth! How could this (ruling) happen?"[34]

Dorner appealed to the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District, which affirmed on October 3, 2011, the lower court's ruling. Under California law, administrative findings (in this case by the LAPD) are entitled to a presumption of correctness and the petitioner (in this case Dorner) bears the burden of proving that they were incorrect. The appeals court concluded that the LAPD Board of Rights had substantial evidence for its finding that Dorner was not credible in his allegations against Sergeant Evans.[27]

Manifesto for killingsEdit

In early February 2013, coincident with the start of a series of revenge shootings, Dorner was purported to have posted a detailed note on his Facebook page, discussing his history, motivations, and plans.[2] This 11,000-word post became known as his "manifesto".[35]

Dorner's "Facebook manifesto" listed 40 law enforcement personnel whom he was prepared to kill, and stated: "I know most of you who personally know me are in disbelief to hear from media reports that I am suspected of committing such horrendous murders and have taken drastic and shocking actions in the last couple of days," the posting began. "Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil that I do not enjoy but must partake and complete for substantial change to occur within the LAPD and reclaim my name. The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days. It has gotten worse...."[36][37]

Dorner issued a single demand: a public admission by the LAPD that his termination was in retaliation for reporting excessive force. He also asked journalists to pursue "the truth", pointing out specific lines of investigation for reporters to follow under the Freedom of Information Act, and said that "video evidence" was sent to multiple news agencies.

On February 9, 2013, in response to Dorner's manifesto and the start of the killing spree, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck informed Dorner through the media that there would be a review of the disciplinary case that led to Dorner's dismissal.[38][39] Beck said officials would re-examine the allegations by Dorner that his law enforcement career was undone by racist colleagues.[39][40][41]

Timeline of killings and manhuntEdit

Dorner's killing spree began with a package stating his complaints, sent to Anderson Cooper and arriving at CNN on February 1, 2013. On February 3, Dorner stalked then killed a couple in their vehicle, including the daughter of the LAPD captain who acted as his defense counsel in the LAPD review board hearings of his allegations against his training officer. Dorner's posted manifesto, threatening the lives of more people, then caused law enforcement to mount a widespread manhunt for Dorner that spread from California to include Nevada and Mexico.[42][43]

Protection details were set up for over 40 potential targets of Dorner's, and thousands of police were assigned to patrol Southern California's highways. The LAPD also took police off of motorcycles in order to protect them.[24]

February 1, 2013Edit

Anderson Cooper of CNN received a package at his office containing a DVD that stated Dorner's case against the LAPD.[44] The package also contained a bullet-riddled challenge coin issued by LAPD Chief William Bratton and a note inscribed with "1MOA" (1 minute of angle), implying that the coin was shot at 100 yards (91 m)[45] at a grouping of 1 inch (2.5 cm), boasting of his accuracy with a rifle.

February 3Edit

In the City of Irvine, in the evening hours, 28-year-old Monica Quan and her fiancé, 27-year-old Keith Lawrence, were found shot dead in Lawrence's parked white Kia Optima outside their condominium complex.[46] Quan, an assistant women's basketball coach at Cal State Fullerton,[18] was the daughter of Randal Quan, a former Los Angeles Police Department captain[47] and lawyer who formerly represented Dorner during Dorner's dismissal hearing from the LAPD. Lawrence was a campus public safety officer for the University of Southern California.[48]

February 4Edit

A manifesto, purportedly by Dorner,[3] was published online outlining his experiences and stating his motive for the shootings was to clear his name.[13][a] In it he wrote, "I will not be alive to see my name cleared. That's what this is about, my name."[24] Dorner's manifesto had also specifically named Randal Quan and his family as targets, so Irvine police named Dorner as the primary suspect in the murders of Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence on the afternoon of February 6, 2013.[3] The manifesto said that Quan had failed to represent Dorner's interests in favor of those of the department.[49] Dorner reported specific acts of specific officers participating in the retaliation but their names have been redacted by media sources at the request of law enforcement who have cited officer safety concerns.[50]

February 5Edit

According to military sources, Dorner checked into Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego, but skipped checkout procedures when leaving.[51]

February 7Edit

Two LAPD officers were driving to a protection detail where they were assigned as security for one of the officers potentially targeted by Dorner, when they were flagged down by R.L. McDaniel at about 1:00 am. McDaniel reported seeing a man matching Dorner's description at a gas station in Corona. The officers investigated the report, and they were following a pickup truck when the driver stopped, got out, and fired a rifle at them, grazing the head of one officer.[18][43]

About twenty minutes after the Corona shooting, two officers of the neighboring Riverside Police Department were ambushed while stopped in their marked patrol unit at a red traffic light in that city. One officer, Michael Crain, died shortly after the shooting; the other was rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition for surgery and survived.[42][43][52]

About an hour and 25 minutes after the Riverside shooting, at approximately 3:00 a.m., a man matching Dorner's description tried to steal a boat in San Diego, telling the boat's captain that he would take the boat to Mexico.[53][54] A federal criminal complaint was filed against Dorner this same day for allegedly fleeing California to avoid prosecution.[55]

Hours later the burning remains of Dorner's vehicle, a dark gray 2005 Nissan Titan truck, were found on a remote fire trail by citizen Daniel McGowan near Big Bear Lake, about 80 miles (130 km) from Los Angeles.[56][57][58] Investigators spread out to search for Dorner in the surrounding area, and about 125 officers went from door to door.[24] All schools in the Bear Valley Unified School District were placed into a state of lockdown.[59]

February 9Edit

CNN reported that the Los Angeles Police Department was re-opening its investigation into Dorner's dismissal from the LAPD so as to reassure the public that the police were doing everything in their power to capture Dorner.[60]

February 10Edit

Authorities offered a $1 million reward for information leading to the capture of Dorner.[61] For the first time, Dorner's actions were described as a form of "domestic terrorism".[62] With Dorner believed to be hiding somewhere in the San Bernardino Mountains, an unmanned aerial vehicle was deployed to aid the search from the air amid fears that Dorner would head for the Mexican border.[63]

Later in the day, a Lowe's home improvement store in Northridge, Los Angeles, was evacuated based on reports of a possible sighting of Dorner.[64]

February 11Edit

The Riverside District Attorney filed formal charges against Dorner for the murder of a police officer and the attempted murder of three other officers.[65]

February 12Edit

Police raided a hotel in Tijuana, Mexico, overnight, based on a tip that Dorner was there. Authorities also discovered surveillance footage of Dorner purchasing scuba diving gear at a sporting goods store in Torrance.[66]

A message posted on February 12 to the Twitter account of the San Bernardino County district attorney's office said: [67][68][69][70][71]

The sheriff has asked all members of the press to stop tweeting immediately. It is hindering officer safety. #Dorner—

The message was removed[72][73][74] within "a few hours."[75]

Final mountain cabin standoffEdit

On February 12, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department deputies responded to a report of a carjacking of a white Dodge truck at 12:22 pm (PST) and began looking for the vehicle on the ground and from the air. The truck's driver was not harmed. Fish and Game officers were first to spot the vehicle and recognized Dorner as the driver. Officers from numerous agencies chased Dorner to a cabin near Big Bear Lake, California.

Dorner opened fire on two officers from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, hitting both. The officers were airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where Detective Jeremiah MacKay was pronounced dead.[76]

The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department confirmed to the media that Dorner was barricaded in a cabin, near the command center set up for the manhunt, in a mountainous rural area northeast of Angelus Oaks, California and the building was surrounded by law enforcement.[77] The Los Angeles Times reported that there might be hostages in the cabin with Dorner.[78] A three-mile (5 km) perimeter was set up around the cabin and residents were told to remain inside with their doors locked.[79]

Police initially attempted to force Dorner out of the cabin by using tear gas and demanding over loudspeakers that he surrender. When Dorner did not respond, police used a demolition vehicle to knock down most walls of the building. They then shot pyrotechnic tear gas canisters into the cabin, which resulted in the cabin catching fire. Such devices are nicknamed "burners", as the heat generated by the pyrotechnic reaction often causes fires. Shortly thereafter, a single gunshot was heard from the cabin.[80] As the fire continued, ammunition was exploding from within the cabin, making it dangerous for officials to try to put out the fire.[81] Law enforcement experts differ on whether using pyrotechnic devices to end the standoff, instead of waiting Dorner out, was justified.[80]

In the evening of February 12, Los Angeles police and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office denied reports that a body believed to be that of Dorner had been recovered from the burnt cabin. In a press conference, LAPD Commander Andrew Smith stated that no body had been removed from the site, adding that reports of a body being identified were untrue as the cabin area was "too hot to make entry".[82][83]


On February 13, it was reported that human remains had been found in the search for Dorner's body in the cabin.[84][85][86] A wallet with a California driver's license with the name "Christopher Dorner" was found in the rubble of the cabin.[87] Also on that day, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said that deputies did not intentionally burn down the cabin. It was also revealed that deputies knocked on the door of the cabin during the search for Dorner, but moved on when they received no answer.[88]

On February 14, medical examiners confirmed during an autopsy, using dental records, that the charred body found in the burned out cabin was in fact that of Dorner.[89]

On February 15, the sheriff's office announced the autopsy showed Dorner died from a single gunshot wound to the head, with evidence indicating that it was self-inflicted.[90][91] At the same news conference, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon reiterated the claim that deputies had not deliberately set the cabin on fire. The Sheriff Department's Capt. Gregg Herbert, who led the assault on the cabin, claimed the canisters were a last resort saying, "This was our only option," adding that the potential for fire was considered.[92]

Truck misidentificationsEdit

In two separate incidents in the early morning hours of February 7, 2013, police fired on people who turned out to be unrelated to Dorner. Dorner was not present at either incident.[93]

At about 5:30 am (PST), at least seven[94] Los Angeles Police Department officers on a protection detail of an unnamed LAPD official's residence in the 19500 block of Redbeam Street[95] in the Los Angeles County city of Torrance opened fire on the back of a light blue Toyota Tacoma and shot its two occupants, Emma Hernandez, 71, and her daughter, Margie Carranza, 47,[94][96] delivering newspapers for the Los Angeles Times.[7][97] The vehicle, according to officers, was spotted exiting a freeway and heading to the area of the residence that officers were protecting, was thought by police to match the description of Dorner's 2005 gray Nissan Titan and was moving without its headlights on.[93][98] Hernandez was shot in the back and Carranza received wounds to her hand. Their attorney claimed police "had no idea who was in that vehicle" when they opened fire, and that nothing about his clients or their vehicle matched the descriptions given of the suspect or his truck.[99] The two women stated that they were given no warning prior to being fired upon.[100]

A neighbor said the truck was used every day to deliver newspapers, and the women who used it kept their headlights off so as to not wake people up.[101] The two women were injured, but both survived.[102][103] The LAPD started an internal investigation into the multiple-officer-involved shooting. According to their attorney Glen Jonas, 102 bullets holes were found in the truck.[104] The LAPD declined to confirm the total number of officers involved or how many bullets were fired or if any verbal warnings were given to the women before the shooting began.[98]

Approximately 25 minutes after that incident, officers from the Torrance Police Department struck and opened fire on another vehicle.[8] Like the first shooting, the incident involved a vehicle that police claimed resembled the description of Dorner's truck, but was later discovered to be a black Honda Ridgeline driven by a white male.[105][106] The victim of the second weapon discharge by police was David Perdue, who was on his way to the beach for some early morning surfing before work. A Torrance Police Department police cruiser slammed into Perdue's pickup and Torrance police officers opened fire. Perdue was not hit by any of the bullets, but reportedly suffered injuries as a result of the car impact.[8] Police claim that Perdue's pickup truck "matched the description" of the one belonging to Dorner. However, the Los Angeles Times reported that the vehicle involved was once again a different make and color to that of the suspect's, and that Perdue "looks nothing like" the suspect.[8]

Settlement paidEdit

In April 2013 the Los Angeles Police Department paid a $4.2 million settlement to Margie Carranza and Emma Hernandez, the two women who were mistakenly shot by police on the morning of February 7, 2013.[107]

The city of Torrance initially offered a $500,000 settlement to David Perdue for ramming his pickup truck and then shooting at him on the morning of February 7, 2013.[108] This was rejected and with the case set to go to trial in August 2014 they reached an agreement in July 2014 for a $1.8 million settlement paid by the city of Torrance to Perdue.[109]

Use-of-force policy violationEdit

On February 4, 2014, LAPD chief Charlie Beck announced that eight officers had violated the LAPD's use-of-force policy and would be disciplined. Beck noted that California state law prevents him from disclosing the nature of the discipline publicly, but that discipline could range "from extensive retraining up to termination."[110][111] Disciplinary actions for the officers involved did not include criminal charges.


On Feb 10, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced a $1 million reward for information leading to the capture of Dorner and, because the terms of the offer were not carefully stipulated, judges had to later decide how the reward would be divided. Ultimately the reward was divided four ways, with $800,000 going to James and Karen Reynolds, who were tied up by Dorner in their Big Bear cabin before he stole their vehicle, $150,000 to Daniel McGowan, and $50,000 to R. L. McDaniel.[56]

Protests against the LAPDEdit

There were online protests against the LAPD as well as a protest at police HQ on February 16, 2013.[112] Protestors stated that they objected to the manner in which Dorner's dismissal was handled, the reckless shooting of civilians by the LAPD during the manhunt, and allegations that the police had intentionally set fire to the cabin in which Dorner was hiding.[113]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ An unredacted copy of Dorner's manifesto was published online, but then had redactions added: "Read Murder Suspect Chris Dorner's Online Manifesto About Slayings (redacted)". KTTV/ February 6, 2013. Retrieved December 25, 2014. 


  1. ^ "New Details Emerge About Christopher Dorner's Cache of Weapons". KTLA. Retrieved May 30, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Read Murder Suspect Chris Dorner's Online Manifesto About Slayings". myFOXla. February 6, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Manhunt for former cop accused of killing his own". ABC News (Australia). February 8, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Christopher Dorner's Manifesto, In Full (Content Graphic and Disturbing) (UPDATED)". LAist. February 7, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2013.  This is not a full version because it has names removed. For a version with the names, see MyFoxla citation of article titled "Read Murder Suspect Chris Dorner's Online Manifesto About Slayings."
  5. ^ John North; Rob McMillan; Robert Holguin; Leanne Suter; Q McCray; Amy Powell; Melissa MacBride (February 11, 2013). "Christopher Dorner search: Criminal charges filed". Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Dorner Manifesto: Suspected Gunman Talks Politics, Pop Culture In His 'Last Resort'". The Huffington Post. Associated Press. February 8, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Altman, Larry (February 8, 2012). "LAPD looking for Dorner accused of 'street justice' for opening fire on truck in Torrance". The Daily Breeze. 
  8. ^ a b c d Faturechi, Robert (February 9, 2013). "Police seeking Dorner opened fire in a second case of mistaken identity". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  9. ^ Kelly, Jon (February 16, 2013). "Christopher Dorner: What made a police officer kill?". BBC. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Anaheim Union HS officials issue statement on Chris Dorner; 'No Danger To Students' cited". February 7, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Southern Utah Univ Overall Individual Statistics". Southern Utah University. November 20, 1999. Archived from the original on January 18, 2000. 
  12. ^ "Christopher Dorner's Manifesto, In Full (Content Graphic and Disturbing) – UPDATED". LAist. February 7, 2013. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
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  15. ^ McGregor, Ellen (February 7, 2013) "U.S. Navy Releases Records of Triple Shooting Suspect Christopher Dorner Archived June 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine." ABC 10 News
  16. ^ Gold, Lauren (February 8, 2013). "Christopher Dorner left the Navy days before Irvine shooting, was a decorated officer". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Vance students turn in lost church money". Enid News & Eagle. November 5, 2002. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
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  25. ^ "Suspect's grudge dates back to 2007 complaint". February 10, 2013. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  26. ^ a b Associated Press (February 7, 2013). "Vehicle found in massive manhunt for fired Los Angeles officer accused of killing 3 people". The Toledo Blade Company. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  27. ^ a b c Dorner v. Los Angeles Police Department, No. B225674 (Cal. Ct. App. October 3, 2011).
  28. ^ Sax, Robin. "DOCUMENTS: Deposition, Legal Papers Challenging The LAPD". Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
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  32. ^ "
  33. ^ "LAPD records: Dorner had troubled tenure". Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
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  56. ^ a b June, Daniel, "LAPD Decides How 1M Reward for Dorner's Capture Will Be Distributed"
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