Police: Dorner taking revenge on people he blames for downfall
Police say Christopher Dorner, the ex-cop who allegedly killed three people and injured two others, was on a campaign to methodically exact revenge against the people he blames for his downfall.
Friends and acquaintances who knew Dorner before he became a cop struggled to reconcile the person they remembered with the image of the deeply disturbed man that emerged Thursday from a rambling, 6,000-word manifesto that authorities said was published on what they believe is Dorner's Facebook page. Dorner portrays himself as being left no choice but to kill in order to reclaim his destroyed reputation.
"Self Preservation is no longer important to me. I do not fear death as I died long ago on 1/2/09," he allegedly wrote, referring to the day he was fired. "I was told by my mother that sometimes bad things happen to good people. I refuse to accept that."
Born in New York state, Dorner grew up in Southern California with his mother and at least one sister, according to property and voter registration records.
According to the online manifesto, Dorner felt isolated growing up as one of the few African American boys in the neighborhoods where he lived and was the victim of racism. "My first recollection of racism was in the first grade," Dorner allegedly wrote, recalling a fellow student at Norwalk Christian School who called him a racial slur. Dorner said he responded "fast and hard," punching and kicking the student.
It was an early, telling illustration of a notion Dorner returned to repeatedly throughout his life: that he was a victim, often wronged by others, records show.
As a teenager in La Palma, Dorner joined the local police department's youth program, where he spent time in the field with officers and found his "calling in life" to pursue a career in law enforcement, the manifesto states. He heaped praise on the officers who mentored him in the program.
Dorner went on to enroll in Southern Utah University, where he joined the school's football team and was befriended by teammate Jamie Usera.
Usera, who grew up in Alaska, said he and Dorner bonded over the feelings of culture shock that came with being outsiders on the predominantly white, Mormon campus.
Usera said he introduced Dorner to hunting and other outdoor sports. Nothing about the Dorner he knew in college raised any red flags that he was mentally unstable or capable of such violence, Usera said: "He was a typical guy. I liked him an awful lot. Nothing about him struck me as violent or irrational in any way. He was opinionated, but always seemed level-headed."
Usera said he and Dorner had frequent, lively discussions. Dorner often brought up race issues and the two often had heated but respectful arguments about the extent of racism in the country, he said. He added: "Of all the people I hung out with in college, he is the last guy I would have expected to be in this kind of situation."
Neil Gardner, an assistant athletic director who knew Donner through football, echoed Usera. Dorner, he said, was "never a disgruntled guy."
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-- Joel Rubin, Jack Leonard and Kate Linthicum