The search for a fugitive former police officer wanted in the killings of three people has been scaled back in the Big Bear area as a $1 million reward for information leading to his capture has been offered.
Although there has been no sign in the past four days of Christopher Dorner – a fired Los Angeles Police officer accused of targeting law enforcement in violent attacks that have included the killing of a Riverside officer and the daughter of a retired LAPD captain – law-enforcement officers have continued to respond to tips of his whereabouts with force. In Northridge, SWAT officers surrounded and evacuated a Lowe’s home-improvement store but found no evidence that Dorner had been there.
But the search for Dorner near the Big Bear resort has been significantly trimmed. What was a force of about 125 officers scouring the mountainous region on Friday was cut back to 30 Monday morning.
Officers are searching vacation homes and government-lease cabins in a remote area, said a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department.
When skies cleared after a recent snowstorm, two helicopters were used to search for Dorner on Saturday. Though the helicopters were not being used in the search Monday, they were available if needed, the spokeswoman said.
With no sign of Dorner since his Nissan Titan truck was found engulfed in flames Thursday, authorities have packed up a command post that was set up for the search over the weekend.
But authorities are hoping a $1 million reward for information leading to Dorner’s arrest and conviction would help locate the former LAPD officer who, in an online manifesto, declared “asymmetrical warfare” against the LAPD. Dorner was fired in 2009 on what he claimed were false pretenses from a department he accused of corruption and prejudice.
Authorities announced the reward, the largest in LAPD history, Sunday afternoon. The money was provided by 23 organizations and six anonymous donors.
A joint task force focused on finding Dorner remains in place and includes personnel from the Irvine Police Department, Riverside Police Department, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, and LAPD.
Dorner is suspected of killing Monica Quan and her fiancé Keith Lawrence of Feb. 3 in the parking lot of their Irvine condo.
After he was named the prime suspect for the killings, authorities allege, Dorner opened fire on two Riverside police officers on Thursday, critically injuring one and killing officer Michael Crain, a 34-year-old officer born in Anaheim.
Dorner also is suspected of firing into an LAPD cruiser, injuring an officer inside.
The attacks sparked a massive manhunt for Dorner and police protection at more than 40 homes of officers named in his online manifesto.
Police agencies across Southern California also adjusted their deployment of officers in the area, assigning two officers per patrol vehicle, pulling out motorcycle details, and suspending parking-enforcement officers as a precaution.
The attacks on police officers put law enforcement officials on edge.
On Thursday, police opened fire, in two occasions, on trucks driving in an area where a protected LAPD official lived. Two women were shot in one of the trucks, but are expected to recover. The driver in another truck was not struck by gunfire but reported he was injured when a patrol car rammed his vehicle.
Major streets in downtown Los Angeles were closed when someone matching Dorner’s description was reported near the LAPD jail.
On Monday, LAPD officials said they were no longer going to hold officers past their shifts, but motorcycle officers would continue to be assigned to patrol vehicles.
By SALVADOR HERNANDEZ and ALYSSA DURANTY/ THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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