Dorner case: Women mistakenly shot by LAPD will get money for truck
L.A. city officials have reached a settlement with two newspaper delivery women wounded by LAPD officers during the pursuit of fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner that will provide them with money to replace their bullet-ridden truck.
The move comes several weeks after the women were promised a new truck -- and two days after they publicly complained through their attorney that they had not received a new vehicle.
City Atty. Carmen Trutanich will hold a news conference Thursday afternoon to announce the deal. Sources said the women would be given an undisclosed amount of money, enough to purchase a new truck.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck pledged to provide the truck to Margie Carranza, 47, and her mother, Emma Hernandez, 71, who were delivering newspapers in Torrance on Feb. 7 when LAPD officers riddled their blue Toyota Tacoma with bullets. Dorner was believed to be driving a gray Nissan Titan.
Hernandez was shot twice in the back, and Carranza was injured by broken glass.
Beck called the shooting "a tragic misinterpretation" by officers working under "incredible tension" hours after Dorner allegedly shot police officers. He promised to provide a truck from a donor regardless of potential litigation by the women.
Officials stressed that this deal was to compensate the women for the loss of the truck and is separate from any discussions regarding potential litigation involving the LAPD shooting incident in Torrance.
Earlier this week, Glen Jonas, the women's attorney, complained the women still had not received the truck.
The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was on going, said negotiations have been under way for several days. They did not reveal the amount but said it was enough to purchase a new truck.
Jonas said this week the women were first offered a used truck, then a non-four-wheel-drive Ford to replace their four-wheel-drive Toyota. The women also had to agree not to sell it for a year. His clients agreed to that truck, he said.
But then the dealership and LAPD officials said the truck would be considered a prize for tax purposes, Jonas said. "Essentially, they'd have to pay taxes like they won it on a game show."
Jonas said the situation is all the more difficult because the women haven't been able to work since being injured.
LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the department, working with a car dealership, was able to secure a new truck for the women and even covered the taxes and fees. But, he said, the dealership has advised that the vehicle must be legally declared for tax purposes. "We are trying to work it out," Smith said.
The seven officers involved in the incident are assigned to desk duty during an internal investigation into the shooting, which also left holes in several homes on the cul-de-sac.
The officers were protecting the home of a high-ranking LAPD official named in a threatening manifesto authorities said to have been written by Dorner, and they believed that official could have been a potential target. Dorner at the time had already killed the daughter of an LAPD captain and her fiance — a USC police officer — and a Riverside police officer, officials said.
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--Richard Winton and Andrew BlanksteinPhoto: Police officers in pursuit of fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner fired on this blue Toyota Tacoma, injuring two women. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times