In a bizarre and surreal series of events, the actions of a former Los Angeles Police Department Officer have stunned the world and has the citizens of Southern California on edge. This story is familiar to most of us by now although we only woke up to this story yesterday morning.
Former LAPD Officer Christopher Jordan Dorner is accused in the murders of a couple in Irvine and charged with the murder of a Riverside Police Officer. He has further been charged with attempted murder for the wounding at least two other officers, causing massive property damage to police vehicles. Additionally, he is suspected of attempted robbery of a boat in San Diego. Dorner, a former United States Navy Officer, posted a lengthy "manifesto", detailing his allegations of his wrongful termination from the LAPD. He has shockingly declared war against the LAPD and all law enforcement.
After allegedly committing the double homicide in Irvine, it appears that Dorner traveled to San Diego and stayed in a Navy hotel facility. From there he allegedly attempted to steal a boat but was thwarted when a rope was caught in the propeller. Authorities believe that he then traveled to the Inland Empire area, shot at a Corona Police Department cruiser and wounded one of the officers. From there he is alleged to have attacked two Riverside Police Department officers in a vehicle, killing one and wounding the other. It was a "cowardly ambush," said Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz.
The Los Angeles Police Department, after discovering Dorner's manifesto, sent units to guard other officer's homes named on Dorner's "hit list". It is clear that all law enforcement in Southern California were on a heightened state of alert. Unfortunately, three innocent civilians were mistakenly shot by these police protective units when the vehicles they were traveling in appeared suspicious or matched the description of Dorner's vehicle. One citizen victim, a 71 year old who was delivering newspapers with her daughter, was shot in the back and remains hospitalized.
We are now witnessing an unprecedented manhunt of proportions never seen in recent history. As of this writing, hundreds of law enforcement officers across multiple agencies are scouring the Big Bear Mountain area after Dorner's truck was discovered on fire, with footprints in the snow leading from the vehicle into a forested area. Some news reports have speculated that Dorner may have attempted the San Diego robbery and the burning Big Bear Truck as diversions to law enforcement and that he has a sophisticated plan. Other experts speculate that Dorner is unsophisticated and desperate.
Most, if not all Southern California police agencies are involved in this search and investigation in some way as well as the FBI and other federal agencies. Law Enforcement vehicles are stationed on freeways in the Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties as well as into Nevada, where Dorner owns a home. Clearly this manhunt will not end until Dorner is apprehended.
Dorner alludes in his writings that he has no fear of death and indicates that he will not be taken alive. If law enforcement agencies are successful in apprehending him and having him face the legal system, the charges against him will be numerous. The Los Angeles District Attorney's office is conducting its own investigation and is certainly anticipating the preparation of criminal charges if Dorner is taken alive. Among the charges will certainly be Murder, Attempted Murder, special allegations of Murder and Attempted Murder of a Police Officer, gun enhancements, Robbery and Kidnapping as well as pages of other crimes that will certainly carry a request by the prosecution for the death penalty.
Criminal defense attorney David Welch practicing in San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego Counties.