Dorner case documents reveal new details about attacks on police
Two witnesses watched in horror Feb. 7 as a man matching the description of former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner stuck a rifle out the window of his pickup truck and opened fire on two Riverside police officers stopped at a red light, according to court records released Tuesday.
The details of the shooting in Riverside, and another in Corona, were made public after Riverside County Judge Helios Hernandez, at the request of the Los Angeles Times and Press Enterprise newspapers, unsealed the police affidavit for Dorner’s arrest warrant.
Dorner is blamed for killing four people, including two police officers, and wounding three others in a violent rampage across Southern California. He died last week of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound as the mountain-area cabin in which he had barricaded himself erupted in flames shortly after police fired tear gas inside.
The documents released Tuesday added details about the nine-day rampage that began with the shooting deaths of a couple in Irvine on Feb. 3.
Among the revelations:
At about 1:24 a.m. on Feb. 7, a resident who recognized Dorner from news coverage about the Irvine slayings alerted two Los Angeles police officers in a patrol vehicle near Wierick Road, in Corona. The LAPD had been in the area protecting a potential target mentioned in a manifesto that officials said Dorner wrote.
The two LAPD officers followed a Nissan Titan pickup to Magnolia Avenue, near the 15 Freeway, according to the court records.
"While waiting for a backup to contact Dorner, the vehicle stopped and Dorner exited firing multiple .223-caliber rounds from a rifle into the LAPD officers' vehicle," Riverside police Det. Greg Rowe wrote in the arrest affidavit. One of the officers received a grazing wound to the head. The shooting suspect then drove eastbound on Magnolia Avenue, toward Riverside.Minutes later, a witness who was waiting at a traffic light at Magnolia and Arlington avenues saw a Riverside Police Department patrol car pull up next to him, and a pickup truck roll to a stop across the intersection, at a left-turn lane, according to the documents.
"The witness said the window of the truck was down and the driver pointed a rifle at the police unit. ... The witness said the suspect fired approximately 10 rounds from the rifle into the driver’s side of the police unit," the affidavit said.
“The witness said the police unit started to roll forward and he saw the driver of the unit slumped over."
Officer Michael Crain was killed in the shooting and Officer Andrew Tachias was seriously injured, with gunshots to both arms.
A taxi driver also witnessed the shooting, saying the Nissan Titan pickup pulled up right next to him at the intersection. He said the pickup truck drove through the red light, then opened fire on the police car.
The cab driver ran to the police cruiser and put its transmission in park, according to the affidavit.
Tachias, unable to move his arms, told the cab driver to call for help on the police radio, which he did.
Police recovered 13 .223-caliber bullet casings at the intersection, the same caliber of casings found at the site of the shooting in Corona, according to the affidavit.
The Riverside County district attorney’s office last week filed charges of murder and attempted murder against Dorner.
The murder charge included a special circumstance -- the killing of a police officer -- that would have made Dorner eligible for the death penalty.
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-- Phil Willon in Riverside