Dorner manhunt: Ex-cop may have had help, court records show
An associate of accused murderer Christopher Jordan Dorner was being tracked by investigators, according to court records that suggest the fugitive former police officer may have received help as he eluded a massive law enforcement dragnet.
Dorner, 33, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer, has evaded authorities since Wednesday night when he was named as the suspect in the slaying of an Irvine couple, a crime that triggered a wave of violence and a law enforcement dragnet across California and Nevada.
A criminal complaint filed in federal court raises the possibility that Dorner may have been assisted by the associate identified only as "J.Y."
Marine Corps investigators had "been tracking the movements of J.Y., a known associate of Dorner," according to an affidavit filed with the complaint by an inspector U.S. marshal.
As part of a surveillance operation of the associate, Marine and San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department investigators were watching a property last Thursday in the San Bernardino Mountains owned by a family member of J.Y., the records show.
The investigators found a burning pickup truck nearby that turned out to be the vehicle allegedly used by Dorner in a Riverside County attack hours earlier that left one police officer dead and two others wounded, according to the court records.
The criminal complaint, filed late last week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, does not detail the exact relationship between J.Y. and Dorner, a former Navy Reserve lieutenant.
The records do provide new details as to why federal authorities developed "probable cause" that Dorner may have been trying to flee to Mexico as the law enforcement authorities were widening their dragnet.
Dorner allegedly attempted to steal a boat in San Diego and, after subduing the captain, said he was taking the vessel to Mexico, according to an affidavit filed with a criminal complaint in federal court in Los Angeles. Dorner is accused of telling the captain that he could recover his boat in Mexico.
"The attempt failed when the bow line of the boat became caught in the boat's propeller, and the suspect fled," according to the affidavit by inspector U.S. Marshal Craig McClusky.
After authorities interviewed the boat captain early Thursday, they found Dorner's wallet and identification cards "at the San Ysidro Point of Entry" near the U.S.-Mexico border. That same day, a guard at the Point Loma Naval Base told authorities he had spotted a man matching Dorner's description trying sneak onto the base, according to the court records.
Federal authorities told The Times on Monday night that the court papers, filed late last week, reflected their thinking at the time, but they stressed that Dorner could be anywhere.
On Monday, hundreds of officers across Southern California were searching for the fugitive across several counties. Investigators said they were sifting through 800 clues, which began pouring in after authorities announced a $1-million reward for information leading to Dorner's capture.
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, that Dorner allegedly threatened to attack, according to authorities.
The records state that the manifesto was discovered by authorities Wednesday, three days after the slaying of the two Irvine victims, one of them the daughter of a retired LAPD captain whom Dorner blamed in part for his firing from the force in 2009.
The federal document also provides new details on Dorner's alleged attack against officers in Riverside County early Thursday.
The first shooting was in Corona after an eyewitness reported a person matching Dorner's description at a gas station to 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 document said. The account conflicts with a statement provided to the media by Riverside police officials, who said the officers were simply stopped at a red light and not looking for Dorner.