Reward of $1m offered to help find LA fugitive

Tue, Feb 12, 2013, 00:00

A record $1 million (€745,000) reward has been posted for information leading to the capture of a fugitive former Los Angeles policeman suspected of targeting police officers and their families in three killings committed in retaliation for his 2008 firing.

Los Angeles police department chief Charlie Beck said the reward, raised from private donations, police unions, businesses, and city and county governments, marked the largest sum offered in southern California in a criminal investigation.

The reward was posted as law enforcement agencies across the region pressed on for a fourth day in their search for the suspect, ex-LAPD officer and US navy reservist Christopher Dorner (33). Mr Beck described it as the most extensive manhunt mounted in the Los Angeles area.

He called the spate of revenge-driven violence Mr Dorner is accused of committing “an act of domestic terrorism”. “This is a man who has targeted those who we entrust to protect the public. His actions cannot go unanswered,” Mr Beck said.

Progress

At a news conference, Mr Beck said investigators were making progress but he declined to elaborate, saying they presumed that if Mr Dorner was still alive, he would be following media coverage of the manhunt closely.

Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa added: “Our dedication to catching this killer remains steadfast, our confidence in bringing him to justice remains unshaken.”

The search for Mr Dorner has been focused in the snow-covered San Bernardino mountains northeast of Los Angeles since a pick-up truck belonging to Mr Dorner was found abandoned and burning near the popular ski resort community of Big Bear Lake last Thursday.

Sightings

Police throughout the region also have chased down numerous unconfirmed sightings and dead-end leads.

One of the latest of those, prompted by calls from two individuals reporting they had seen someone resembling Mr Dorner, led police on Sunday to a hardware shop in LA’s San Fernando Valley community of Northridge.

The shop was evacuated and searched, but no evidence of Mr Dorner’s presence was uncovered, police said.

A rambling manifesto posted on Mr Dorner’s Facebook page last week claimed he was wrongly terminated from the LAPD in September 2008 and vowed to seek revenge by unleashing “unconventional and asymmetrical warfare” on police officers and their families.

A former navy lieutenant, Mr Dorner was named as a suspect in the killings of a campus security officer and his fiancee, the daughter of a retired LA police captain blamed in Mr Dorner’s manifesto for his dismissal. The couple were found shot dead on February 3rd in their car in Irvine, south of Los Angeles.

Mr Dorner had ended his military service two days earlier. – (Reuters)