Dorner manhunt: Riverside D.A. files murder charges against ex-cop
The Riverside County district attorney's office filed murder and attempted murder charges Monday against fugitive ex-police officer Christopher Dorner, who is accused of shooting three police officers, one fatally, in Riverside County.
Dist. Atty. Paul Zellerbach said Dorner was charged 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 the death of Riverside police Officer Michael Crain, 34, a married father who served two tours in Kuwait as a rifleman in the U.S. Marines.
Dorner faces three additional counts of attempted murder of a peace officer for allegedly shooting and critically injuring Crain's partner and firing upon two Los Angeles police officers in Corona for a protective detail. One of the LAPD officers was grazed by a bullet on the head.
The special circumstance allegations make Dorner eligible for the death penalty, Zellerbach said. A no-bail warrant has also been issued for his arrest, meaning he can be "apprehended anywhere," Zellerbach said at a Monday news conference.
Authorities have called Dorner's alleged attack on the Riverside officers a "cowardly ambush," saying he opened fire on them as they sat at a red light early Thursday. The officers were not actively looking for Dorner, officials said.
The shootings attributed to Dorner began Feb. 3 with the deaths of 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 apparently accused online of not representing him fairly at a hearing that led to his firing. In what police said was his posting to Facebook, Dorner allegedly threatened the retired captain and others he blamed for his firing.
More that 50 LAPD families remained under police guard Monday.
Hundreds of officers have chased clues about Dorner across Southern California in recent days, responding to possible sightings in San Diego, Big Bear and elsewhere and serving warrants at homes in La Palma and Las Vegas.
The search centered on Big Bear after Dorner's burning truck was found on a forest road on Thursday, and included cabin-by-cabin checks for any sign of Dorner. A scaled-back search continued Monday morning with about 30 officers searching vacation homes and cabins in "an even more remote area," the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said.
Los Angeles officials announced on Sunday a $1-million reward for information leading to the capture and arrest of Dorner. The reward — raised from local governments, police departments, civic organizations, businesses and individuals — is thought to be the largest ever offered locally.
Investigators were already following up on more than 600 tips, LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said Monday morning.
"Our commitment is to finding Mr. Dorner and making this city safe again," Neiman said.
— Kate Mather