Manhunt for Ex-Cop Chris Dorner Takes Over L.A. Freeways, Ski Resort & Beyond

After a truly bizarre day that stretched from a cop killing in Los Angeles to a manhunt from San Diego to the San Bernardino Mountains, night fell on Big Bear ski resort as authorities were still going to door-to-door and checking vehicles for the Chris Dorner, the ex-LAPD officer who shot at least five people and is still on the lam. Get the best updates right here.

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Update, 6:35 p.m. (Eastern): After a truly bizarre day that stretched from a cop killing in Los Angeles to a manhunt from San Diego to the San Bernardino Mountains, night fell on Big Bear ski resort as authorities were still going to door-to-door and checking vehicles for the Chris Dorner, the ex-LAPD officer who shot at least five people and is still on the lam. Los Angeles freeways were riddled with signs featuring the license plate of a truck that may have lit on fire at the ski area, which was shut down for the day as Dorner apparently fled again. There were celebrities. There were many sketchy reports. Stay tuned for updates throughout the night with some of the best sources online — the Twitter feeds of ABC 7 and NBC 4, KTLA's website, and the Los Angeles Times live blog — and scroll down for how this all started, way back to an ominous, threatening, and multifaceted Facebook post that may have presaged the killings.

Update 6:27 p.m. (EST): Here's what that LAPD coin with a bullet hole looks like, per Anderson Cooper showing it off on TV....

Update 6:11 p.m. (EST): And here's what was inside:

Update 5:46 (EST): In another bizarre celebrity twist — beyond the messages Dorner apparently left for Tim Tebow, Charlie Sheen, and Larry David — there appears to be a package now:

Update 5:34 (EST): There are multiple local reports citing authorities as confirming that the burned  truck was at some point in the possession of Dorner. As the weird scene at the ski resort continues, law enforcement and security officials appear to be inspecting cars coming down the mountain, leading many on local TV to believe that Dorner may be at large elsewhere once again.

Update 5:22 (EST): KTLA talks to a man who reportedly encountered Dorner at a gas station as KNX1070 radio claims shots have been fired at Big Bear.

Update 5:08 (EST): CBS 8 San Diego now has a live stream showing the search for Dorner.

Update 4:45 (EST): SWAT teams are on the scene, per local TV, and the Big Bear resort has been closed for the afternoon as teams apparently descend on this car (via L.A.'s ABC station):

Update 4:11 p.m. (EST): At Big Bear, SWAT teams are reportedly on the way and visitors are being told to stay in their rooms as a what's suspected to be Dorner's truck is reportedly on fire, according to multiple local TV reports.

Update 3:46 p.m. (EST): According to NBC in Los Angeles, a truck matching the description of Dorner's has been located near the Snow Summit ski area at Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains. It's not clear whether he's in there or in San Diego.

Update 2:14 p.m. (EST): Police have dismissed that report. The manhunt for Dorner is still on.

Update 1:31 p.m. (EST): Reuters is reporting that a suspect matching Dorner's description is barricaded in San Diego.

Original Post: The anti-cop cop-killing cop told us this was coming. California police spent Thursday morning on a statewide manhunt for Christopher Jordan Dorner, an ex-LAPD officer who they suspect is connected to the shootings of three police officers today and two killings over the weekend. The search for Dorner resulted in two innocent bystanders — newspaper deliverywomen — being shot, but the most frightening part of the mayhem that's currently shutting down the California just system came before any bullets flew: Dorner warned of the attacks in a lengthy, winding screed accusing dirty cops of maintaining Rodney King-era tactics — and warning of more attacks to come.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Dorner "wrote an online manifesto on his Facebook page, threatening to harm police officials and their families, law enforcement sources said." That unedited screed, which was published on Monday, is about 11,000 words long — part suicide-style note, part political rant, maybe even part target list — and has finally surfaced online. It may be the ravings of a fired officer gone on a rampage, but it also raises questions about what's wrong with the LAPD — or at least what the police could have done to prevent the killings, and where Dorner might be headed next as the search now extends from Las Vegas to LAPD headquarters, where snipers are currently on the roof in case Dorner returns.

In the letter, Dorner nearly admits to the shootings to come:

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. You are saying to yourself that this is completely out of character of the man you knew who always wore a smile wherever he was seen. I know I will be villified by the LAPD and the media. 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.

And his reasoning — albeit rambling — is that he believes the LAPD is a fudamentally corrupt organization:

The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days. It has gotten worse. The consent decree should never have been lifted. The only thing that has evolved from the consent decree is those officers involved in the Rampart scandal and Rodney King incidents have since promoted to supervisor, commanders, and command staff, and executive positions. 

Those are serious charges and pretty intense if true, though the narrative of police departments being corrupt isn't exactly foreign — and certainly not in Los Angeles. But what cemented Dornan's belief is the incident that got him fired:

In 8/07 I reported an officer (Ofcr. Teresa Evans/now a Sergeant), for kicking a suspect (excessive force) during a Use of Force while I was assigned as a patrol officer at LAPD’s Harbor Division. While cuffing the suspect, (Christopher Gettler), Evans kicked the suspect twice in the chest and once in the face. The kick to the face left a visible injury on the left cheek below the eye. Unfortunately after reporting it to supervisors and investigated by PSB (internal affairs investigator Det. Villanueva/Gallegos), nothing was done.

Dorner, as ABC News reports, was fired for making false statements in that case. But it's not like Dorner wasn't supported. According to the AP, the father of the man who Dorner claims his fellow officer kicked offered testimony that lined up with Dorner's claim. But that didn't change the outcome, and Dorner's firing seems to be the basis for the rampage:

I have exhausted all available means at obtaining my name back. I have attempted all legal court efforts within appeals at the Superior Courts and California Appellate courts. This is my last resort. The LAPD has suppressed the truth and it has now lead to deadly consequences.

And Dorner goes on to name specific officers:

Bratton, Beck, Hayes, Tingirides, Eisenberg, Martella, Quan, Evans, Hernandez, Villanueva/Gallegos, and Anderson. Your lack of ethics and conspiring to wrong a just individual are over.Suppressing the truth will leave to deadly consequences for you and your family.

The chilling part of the story behind his screed is that police believe Dorner has already made good on his threat of taking out these officers' families: Monica Quan, thedaughter of officer Randy Quan (mentioned above), and her fiancé were found shot to death over the weekend, but at the time police had not tied Dorner to those murders. "Police say they are taking extra measures to ensure the safety of officers and their families," ABC News reports.

And Dorner wrote that he's going to keep coming:

This will be a war of attrition and a Pyrrhic and Camdean Victory for myself. You may have the resources and manpower but you are reactive and predictable in your op plans and TTP’s. I have the strength and benefits of being unpredictable, unconventional, and unforgiving. Do not waste your time with briefs and tabletops.

Whatever pre-planned responses you have established for a scenario like me, shelve it. Whatever contingency plan you have, shelve it. Whatever tertiary plan you’ve created, shelve it. I am a walking exigent circumstance with no OFF or reset button. JRIC, DOJ, LASD, FBI and other local LE can’t assist and should not involve themselves in a matter that does not concern them. For all other agencies, do not involve yourself in this capture or recovery of me.

The rest of the letter reads a bit like a mix of a suicide/death-threat/goodbye letter:

Self Preservation is no longer important to me. I do not fear death as I died long ago on 1/2/09. I was told by my mother that sometimes bad things happen to good people. I refuse to accept that.

And after a bit of pontification on race, a bit on the assault-weapons Ban, and Mitt Romney, Dorner includes weird shout-outs to Laura Prepon, America Ferrera, Ashley Graham... and Ellen Degeneres:

Ellen Degeneres, continue your excellent contribution to entertaining America and bringing the human factor to entertainment. You changed the perception of your gay community and how we as Americans view the LGBT community. I congratulate you on your success and opening my eyes as a young adult, and my generation to the fact that you are know different from us other than who you choose to love.

The manhunt for Dorner is still on. The California Highway Patrol has warned officers that Dorner is armed and dangerous and have put his license-plate number up and down California's freeways (picture at right). "The problem, police say, is that they believe Dorner is switching license plates on his car, a 2005 charcoal-gray Nissan Titan pickup truck," reports ABC News, which adds that police in Southern California have been outfitted with tactical gear. "We don't know where he is. We're looking for the public's help to locate this guy. Anybody who sees him or believes they see him or his vehicle should call 911," Commander Andrew Smith told the AP. The police have not spoken about the allegations in Dorner's manifesto at this time.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.