Dorner manhunt: Torrance neighborhood edgy after mistaken shootings
Some Torrance residents remain on edge days after police officers participating in the massive manhunt for ex-LAPD Officer Christopher Jordan Dorner mistakenly shot up two pickups being driven by people not matching the description of the murder suspect.
Two women in a blue pickup, who were delivering copies of the Los Angeles Times, came under fire by Los Angeles Police Department officers on Thursday morning in what Police Chief Charlie Beck has described as a case of “mistaken identity.”
Moments later, Torrance Police Department officers responding to the gunfire slammed their cruiser into a black truck being driven by David Perdue and opened fire. Perdue’s attorney described the shooting as “unbridled police lawlessness” in an interview with The Times on Saturday.
Both shootings took place in the West Torrance neighborhood, a small section nestled on the border where the city meets Redondo Beach.
Leaders of the neighborhood association acknowledged that many residents are on edge after the shootings but praised the efforts by police officers to find Dorner.
“Torrance is a safe city with strong ties between residents and public safety,” a representative of the West Torrance Homeowners Assn., who asked not to be named citing personal ties to local law enforcement, said in a statement provided to The Times.
“Our residents feel the same as every neighborhood caught up in this horrible saga: We will feel safer once Dorner is caught.”
Hundreds of people in California and across the nation have taken to social media to weigh in on the manhunt, with many citing the shootings in Torrance as an example of police overreaction during the search for Dorner.
About 5 a.m. Thursday, after the manhunt had begun, LAPD officers opened fire on a mother and daughter who were delivering newspapers. One woman was shot twice in the back and the other was wounded by broken glass.
Moments later, Torrance police slammed their cruiser into Perdue’s vehicle -- which is similar to the pickup Dorner was suspected to be driving -- and opened fire.
The two sets of gunshots startled 16-year-old Jacob Pivovaroff awake about 5:30 a.m. He says he ran downstairs, where he and his parents peeked out the windows of their Marialinda Street home -- just blocks from both shootings. Together, he said, the family concluded they had heard as many as 30 shots.
After the gunfire stopped, the family waited. About 6 a.m., Jacob’s mother phoned Torrance police to ask if it was safe to leave the home.
“They said to keep our doors closed and locked, that there was an ongoing situation,” he said. “We were huddled at the TV, just trying to figure out if it was safe.”
As he watched television reports and saw the images of the two bullet-riddled trucks, Jacob took to Facebook to voice his first thoughts.
“If you drive a black truck or apparently any truck, you might want to put a 'Not Chris Durner' sign on the back,” he said in a status update posted Thursday morning.
In the three days since, Jacob said the police presence near where both shootings occurred has diminished slightly, but notes that many of his neighbors and friends remain on edge. Some of his classmates, he said, have been staying home from school until the manhunt is over.
“It’s absolutely ludicrous that they shot at these people,” said Jacob, who made it clear that he’s thankful the local police force is taking the threats from Dorner seriously. “I understand why they were scared, but they need to use just a little bit more common sense before they just open fire.”ALSO:
-- Wesley Lowery
Photo: Police investigators examine a blue pickup that was riddled with bullets Thursday on Redbeam Avenue in Torrance. Officers, thinking shooting suspect Christopher Dorner might have been in the vehicle, unleashed a fusillade, wounding a woman and her mother. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times