US manhunt continues for ex-police officer wanted for three murders

A police officer at a check- point in southern California

A police officer at a check- point in southern California

Sat, Feb 9, 2013, 00:00

A fugitive former police officer accused of declaring war on law enforcement in an internet manifesto and wanted as a suspect in three murders eluded a manhunt for a second day yesterday in the snow-swept mountains east of Los Angeles.

Search teams combed hillsides and homes around a ski area through the night and past daybreak for Christopher Dorner (33), a former US navy officer presumed by police to be heavily armed and intent on carrying out a vendetta against those he blames for his 2008 dismissal from the Los Angeles police department.

“We did not find any additional evidence, and we certainly did not locate him,” San Bernardino county sheriff John McMahon told a news briefing, adding that investigators were pressing ahead despite heavy snow that complicated the manhunt.

“We’re going to continue searching until either we determine that he’s left the mountain or we find him,” Mr McMahon said at the Big Bear Lake resort, about 130km (80 miles) northeast of Los Angeles.

The search focused on a wooded area with many abandoned cabins near where Dorner’s pick-up truck was found burning in the snow on Thursday. Search teams had followed footprints near Dorner’s truck “around the forest . . . until we lost them where the ground got frozen and we couldn’t continue to track”, Mr McMahon said.

By yesterday morning, sheriff’s deputies had gone door to door to several hundred holiday homes without finding signs of forced entry, and no vehicles were reported stolen.

In central Los Angeles, a civilian employee of the sheriff’s department reported seeing a man she thought resembled Mr Dorner in a parking structure outside the city’s main jail, prompting a lockdown of the facility while deputies searched the area, sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

Multiple weapons

Police said they believed Mr Dorner was carrying multiple weapons, including an assault-style rifle, though the manifesto attributed to him suggested he might be more heavily armed.

“Do not deploy airships or gunships. SA-7 Manpads will be waiting,” the message said, in a reference to a Russian-made shoulder-launched missile system.

“The violence of action will be high . . . I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty,” he allegedly wrote.

Dorner first came to public attention on Wednesday when he was named as a suspect in the weekend killings of a university security officer and his fiancee, college basketball coach Monica Quan (28), in Irvine, about 64km (40 miles) south of Los Angeles. – (Reuters)