Burning pickup truck in Big Bear may be linked to fugitive ex-cop
This post has been updated. See note below for details.
Authorities were investigating a fire Thursday involving a pickup truck in the Big Bear area that may belong to a fugitive ex-Los Angeles police officer wanted in connection with a series of shootings that have left three people dead and two wounded, law enforcement sources told The Times.
The truck was was left in the snow amid pine trees as flames and black smoke curled into the air, according to TV news images.
Law enforcement officers were responding to the area to confirm whether the vehicle was registered to Christopher Jordan Dorner, 33.
[Updated at 1:14 p.m., Feb. 7: There had been multiple reported sightings in the Big Bear area on Thursday of Dorner's pickup truck, sources said. Dorner was last seen wearing military fatigues and has a military ID. Coincidentally, at the Bear Mountain and Snow Summit ski resorts, customers who wore their military uniforms on Thursday could purchase a discounted $38 lift ticket.]
All schools in the Bear Valley School District were placed on lockdown about 12:25 p.m. as authorities responded to the blaze, a district spokesman told The Times.
Sean Jacques, director of loss prevention for Big Bear Mountain Resorts, said that after the burning truck was discovered on a forest service road, local law enforcement told resort officials to keep an eye out for Dorner and provided a suspect description.
“They said maintain vigilance,” he said.
Several law enforcement agencies are involved in the massive manhunt for Dorner and alerts have been issued all across California and in Nevada for the former officer suspected of killing a couple in Orange County earlier this week and fatally shooting a Riverside police officer Thursday morning.
The Los Angeles Police Department had dispatched units across the region to protect at least 40 officers and others named in the rambling manifesto that authorities say Dorner posted online.
Dorner, who was fired from the LAPD in 2009, is suspected of shooting three police officers, one of whom died, in Riverside County.
Dorner also is suspected of killing a couple in Orange County earlier this week who were found shot in a car. One of the victims was the daughter of a former LAPD captain named in Dorner's supposed manifesto.
-- Andrew Blankstein, Kate Mather and Robert Lopez