Dorner gun battle: 2 officers shot, 'deputies are everywhere'
Fugitive former police officer Christopher Dorner allegedly shot and wounded at least two San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies during a shootout with authorities in the Big Bear area Tuesday afternoon, sources said.
Dozens of law enforcement officers were racing to the last reported scene of a gun battle near the 7 Oaks cabin area near Big Bear.
“There are deputies everywhere on the ground and on foot," said Cindy Bachman, a San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman.
The shooting occurred after Dorner burglarized a home, tied up a couple and stole a white pickup truck, sources said. San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller confirmed deputies responded to a vehicle theft about 12:20 p.m., and the resident who reported the theft said the suspect matched Dorner's description.
The U.S. Forest Service confirms there was an exchange of gunfire between officers on foot and the suspect, in the Santa Ana River drainage, north of State Highway 38 and south of Big Bear Valley. At least one officer of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was involved, said John Miller, San Bernardino National Forest spokesman. That officer is not believed to be injured.
Dorner's status was not immediately known as the gunfight continued.
Officers have crisscrossed California for days pursuing the more than 1,000 tips that poured in about Dorner's possible whereabouts — including efforts in Tijuana, Mexico, San Diego County and Big Bear — and serving warrants at homes in Las Vegas and Point Loma.
Statewide alerts were issued in California and Nevada, and border authorities were alerted. The Transportation Security Administration also had issued an alert urging pilots and other aircraft operators to keep an eye out for Dorner.
The search turned to Big Bear last week after Dorner's burning truck was found on a local forest road.
At the search's height, more than 200 officers scoured the mountain, conducting cabin-by-cabin checks. It was scaled back Sunday — about 30 officers were out in the field Tuesday, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said.
Dorner allegedly threatened "unconventional and asymmetrical warfare" against police in a lengthy manifesto that authorities say he posted on Facebook. The posting named dozens of potential targets, including police officers, whom Dorner allegedly threatened to attack, according to authorities.
Records state that the manifesto was discovered by authorities Wednesday, three days after the slaying of an Irvine couple: Monica Quan, a Cal State Fullerton assistant basketball coach, and her fiance, Keith Lawrence, a USC public safety officer.
Quan was the daughter of a retired LAPD captain whom Dorner allegedly blamed in part for his firing from the force in 2009.
Federal documents also provide new details on Dorner's alleged attack against officers early Thursday in Riverside County.
The first shooting was in Corona after an eyewitness reported a person matching Dorner's description at a gas station, telling an LAPD officer "who was detailed to the area to protect one of the officials whom Dorner had threatened," according to the court records.
"When the officer drove by the gas station, the suspect exited his vehicle and fired an assault rifle at the officer, hitting the officer's vehicle," according to the court records.
The LAPD later said the officer received a grazing wound.
About 30 minutes later, Dorner opened fire on Riverside police officers "who were in the area searching for Dorner," the documents said. On that detail, the account conflicts with a statement provided to the media by Riverside police officials, who said the officers were stopped at a red light and were not looking for Dorner.
Riverside Officer Michael Crain, 34, a married father of two who served two tours in Kuwait as a rifleman in the Marines, was killed in the attack. His partner remains hospitalized, Police Chief Sergio Diaz said, and it was unclear if he would be able to return to active duty.
Dorner was charged Monday with one count of murder, with special-circumstance allegations in the killing of a peace officer and the discharge of a firearm from a vehicle, in connection with Crain's death. He faces three additional charges of attempted murder.
Riverside Dist. Atty. Paul Zellerbach said because of the special-circumstance allegations, Dorner could be eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
--Andrew Blankstein, Richard Winton, Kate Mather, Matt Stevens, Joel Rubin and Julie Cart
Map: Approximate location of incident shown in red. Credit: Google Maps