SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – The massive manhunt for former LAPD officer, Christopher Dorner, has entered its third day. The search for the triple murder suspect is centered in Big Bear, but also extends throughout Southern California and has touched parts of Southern Nevada.
The latest Dorner sighting came out of Los Angeles, where the LAPD reinstated a city wide tactical alert, after reports that Dorner may have been spotted in the LA area. The tactical alert was canceled Friday around 7:30 a.m., but was re-issued after 11:00 a.m.
The suspect, Christopher Jordan Dorner, is wanted for the murders of a former police captain's daughter and Cal State Fullerton basketball coach and her fiancé over the weekend. Authorities believe Dorner also opened fire early Thursday on police in cities east of Los Angeles, killing an officer and wounding another.
Thursday afternoon, Dorner's 2005 Nissan Titan pickup truck was found abandoned and burning in Big Bear, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Heavily armed officers then began combing surrounding wooded terrain and going door-to-door in the area, officials said.
San Bernardino Co. Sheriff's officials announced Thursday night around 9:00 p.m. that the manhunt for Dorner would continue through the night into Friday morning. Teams are searching on the ground on foot, with K-9 units, helicopters, and going door-to-door to search an estimated 400 homes in the area.
As of late Thursday, law enforcement had searched approximately 200 vacant and occupied homes and had not located Dorner. Sheriff's officials also said that deteriorating weather conditions made the overnight search difficult. The temperature had dropped below freezing with snow.
Investigators said students in the Big Bear Unified School District will return to class on Friday morning, but no armed police would be present. The Big Bear Mountain ski resorts are open for business on Friday as well.
Sheriff's officials said they had no reason to believe Dorner had fled the Big Bear area. There were no reports of stolen vehicles at the ski resort near the location where Dorner's burned truck had been recovered Thursday morning. That truck was moved to the sheriff's crime lab for processing.
Law enforcement patrolled Big Bear in squad cars, in teams of two officers, throughout Thursday night. Three helicopters, two from San Bernardino Co. and one from Los Angeles Co. sheriff's departments, also assisted by searching the more difficult parts of the terrain with infrared cameras.
Earlier Thursday morning, police and military personnel locked down and searched Naval Base Point Loma and a motel on the grounds of the station after someone reported seeing a man matching the description of 33-year-old Christopher Jordan Dorner in the area.
No suspect was found, and authorities decided the sighting likely was not valid, though Dorner apparently had stayed at the inn earlier in the week, SDPD Capt. Terry McManus told reporters during a midday briefing.
Law enforcement officials in Poway are investigating whether Dorner is connected to the theft of license plates from a vehicle matching his own. Earlier Thursday, it was believed Dorner may have switched out his license plates.
[Complete AP report in the manhunt for Christopher Dorner.]
Police say Dorner, a former naval reservist, is linked to an attempted boat jacking Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. at the Southwest Marina near Shelter Island in San Diego. SDPD says the suspect tied up the 81-year-old owner of a boat and threatened him. Then, he tried to steal the vessel.
"The boat did not start, however he was unsuccessful for some reason in being able to get the boat," said Lt. David Rohowits with the San Diego Police Department. "At that point, the suspect according to the victim, became frustrated, took a few small items, including the cell phone and some other miscellaneous items from inside the boat and tied the victim up and left."
The victim untied himself and called police about 30 minutes later.
The suspect's description in the attempted boat jacking matches that of Dorner. However police have not confirmed Dorner's involvement.
[Christopher Dorner's Description: 33 years old, black male, 6 feet tall, 270 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes and an unknown clothing description.]
Authorities first began looking for the 33-year-old suspect in San Diego about 2:30 a.m., after a badge and wallet containing his identification was found along Harbor Drive, near Lindbergh Field. It was not immediately clear what agency the badge might represent or if it was legitimate, but the ID was clearly Dorner's, SDPD Officer Frank Cali said.
FBI officials searched Dorner's Las Vegas-area home Thursday for any clues that might lead to his location. SWAT teams and the FBI sealed off the neighborhood around 4:00 p.m. Authorities haven't said if they found evidence in the home, which is located about nine miles southwest of the Las Vegas strip. According to public records, Dorner bought the house in 2007.
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Another possible local tie to this manhunt involves the National City police. A passer-by reported Monday, February 4 at 9:30 a.m., that there was equipment in a dumpster near the National City Police Department. Officers retrieved the equipment and were contacted by the Irvine Police Department, because of a possible connection to murders in the area. The Irvine PD now has possession of the equipment – the contents of which have not been revealed. As of this report, there is no confirmed connection between the found equipment and murder suspect Christopher Dorner.
Dorner was fired from the LAPD in 2008 and recently released a manifesto threatening revenge on the department. According to documents from a court of appeals hearing in October 2011, Dorner was fired after he made a complaint against his field training officer, Sgt. Teresa Evans. Dorner said that in the course of an arrest, Evans kicked suspect Christopher Gettler, a schizophrenic with severe dementia.
[Read the Christopher Dorner manifesto Warning: Some of the content is graphic and is not suitable for all audiences.]
Richard Gettler, the schizophrenic man's father, gave testimony that supported Dorner's claim. After his son was returned on July 28, 2007, Richard Gettler asked "if he had been in a fight because his face was puffy" and his son responded that he was kicked twice in the chest by a police officer.
If you have information in this case or you spot Dorner, police ask that you do not approach him, as he is considered armed and dangerous, and call 911.