BIG BEAR — The massive search for accused triple-murderer Christopher Dorner picked up again Saturday morning in Big Bear under sunny skies after more than a foot of snowfall blanketed the area overnight.
There were no reported sightings of the police- and military-trained suspect, who has now been embarking on his self-proclaimed vendetta against law enforcement for nearly a week.
Though more than 100 personnel continued combing the ski resort town at a 7,000-foot elevation with help from a sheriff’s helicopter with forward-looking infrared optics allowing the operators to see body heat underground, speculation grew among residents and officials that Dorner may no longer be in the area.
But the weather cooperated with searchers much better Saturday then Friday, as a storm that dropped 14 inches of snow on Big Bear moved out of the area.
“We’re done with the precipitation,” said Robert Balfour of the National Weather Service in San Diego. “(That will be replaced by) dry, cold frosty mornings and then probably around Monday, Tuesday looking at some wind out of the northeast. Basically, our normal winter dry pattern: more sunshine, warmer daytime temperatures, still cold at night.”
After showing up in Irvine, San Diego, Corona and Riverside, the manhunt focus of the manhunt shifted to Big Bear Thursday after Dorner’s pickup truck was found abandoned and set afire near the Bear Mountain ski resort. But there have been no confirmed sighting of him on the mountain since.
The Nissan Titan was processed and being turned over to the Irvine Police Department, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said Friday.
Irvine police released no information Saturday regarding the contents or condition of the scorched truck, or whether investigators developed any leads from it.
Numerous unsubsantiated reports of Dorner sightings were called into police throughout the Southland Thursday and Friday.
Dorner is suspected of fatally shooting an engaged couple, whose bodies were discovered Sunday near their Irvine home, according to Irvine police. The bodies of Monica Quan, 28, and her fiance Keith Lawrence, 27, in a car near their Irvine home.
On Wednesday, as police expanded their manhunt and protected potential targets listed in Dorner’s lengthy online manifesto, Dorner allegedly shot and killed a Riverside police officer in Riverside and seriously wounding another.
The fatal wounding of the police officer took place only minutes after he opened fire on two LAPD officers in Corona, authorities said.
Dorner, a former Naval reservist, cited his termination from the LAPD in early 2009 for his rage at law enforcement, and in partuclar, the LAPD. He claimed in his manifesto he was unjustly fired for reporting excessive force on the part of his training officer, and the termination ruined his life.
He further wrote that he is heavily armed with weapons invluding a .50-caliber sniper rifle and sholder-fired missiles, and prepared to use them against authorities who come after him.
Accused triple-murderer and fugitive Christopher Dorner, who has dominated news headlines in recent days as an intense search for him has spanned California and beyond, was featured in an Oklahoma newspaper in a much more positive light in 2002.
An news story originally written in 2002 and re-published on Indenes.com Friday gives an account of the suspect and another man finding a bank bag containing nearly $8,000 and immediately turning it in to police.
Dorner, who was in the Navy, and the other good Samaritan, a Marine, were both students at Vance Air Force Base at the time, the news agency reported.
They were reportedly driving into town Nov. 2, 2002, when they spotted a bank bag in the middle of the street.
Inside they discovered $7,792 in cash and checks that belonged to a local church, and promptly brought the money to the police department.
“The military stresses integrity,” Dorner told EnidNews.com. “There was a couple of thousand dollars, and if people are willing to give that to a church, it must be pretty important to them.”
“I didn’t work for it, so it’s not mine. And it was for the church,” he added. “It’s not so much the integrity, but it was someone else’s money. I would hope someone would do that for me.”
Original story in EnidNews.com
These images, captured by a hotel surveillance camera in Orange County Jan. 28, were released by the Irvine Police Department Friday.
LOS ANGELES — Officials Thursday filed charges against an off-duty Los Angeles police officer accused of punching another man without warning, breaking his jaw, during a party in Whittier in July of 2011.
Donald Albert Peko, 35, was charged with battery causing serious bodily injury in Los Angeles Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
The charge came more than 14 months after the date of the alleged attack.
Peko was freed from jail on a $50,000 bond and ordered to return to court Jan. 18 for arraignment, officials said.
Peko was at a family party in Whittier when he told 23-year-old Christopher Price that he could not leave the party with an open container of alcohol, the D.A,’s statement said.
“When price started to drink to finish the bottle, Peko allegedly punched him once in the jaw without warning,” according to the statement. “Price suffered a broken jaw.”
The case was investigated by the Whittier Police Department and is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Geoffrey Rendon of the D.A.’s Justice System Integrity Division.
In an unrelated case, two LAPD officers were arrested by Whittier police on suspicion of beating and pistol-whipping a man outside a restaurant in the 15600 block of Whittwood Lane Jan. 26, 2010.
After a 22-month-long investigation, prosecutors declined to file charges against the two officers citing “insufficient evidence,” D.A.’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said. The case was rejected in November of 2011.
HOLLYWOOD — A 26-year-old former Azusa resident who opened fire on cars randomly at a busy Hollywood intersection Friday before being fatally shot by police has been identified, officials said.
Tyler Brehm died at the scene of the bizarre incident, whichj unfolded shortly after 10 a.m. at Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s Lt. Larry Dietz said. His current city of residency was not clear.
Azusa police described him as a former resident of an Arrow Highway apartment complex in that city. He moved out several months ago, but it was not clear Saturday how long he had lived there.
A 40-year-old man who was struck by one of Brehm’s bullets during the rampage was hospitalized with serious injuries but expected to survive, officials said.
A motive in the shooting was unknown, however Brehm was heard screaming “kill me” and “I’m gonna die” during the rampage.
From the Associated Press:
LOS ANGELES — The attorney for a mechanic accused of the “Grim Sleeper” serial killings criticized Los Angeles police Saturday for releasing photographs of women seized at the suspect’s home.
Louisa Pensanti said the photos include family and friends of suspect Lonnie Franklin Jr. who are now under intense public and police scrutiny. She also said investigators’ comments at a recent news conference were “jeopardizing Lonnie Franklin’s chance for a fair trial.”
“Those are family photos,” she told The Associated Press, adding that Franklin’s relatives are upset that the photos were released publicly.
LAPD spokeswoman Norma Eisenman said investigators could not immediately be reached for comment.
Last week, police released the photos of about 160 women in the hopes of finding out who they are and if anything happened to them.
Police said they’ve received hundreds of calls. Several callers told investigators they were among the women in the photographs, but police must interview them individually to be sure.
Before the photos were released, investigators contacted Pensanti asking that Franklin’s wife come down to the police station to view the photographs, the lawyer said. When Pensanti instead requested a copy of the photos so she could review them privately, investigators refused, she said.
“There’s no reason she had to come down to the police department,” Pensanti said.
Franklin is accused of killing 10 women beginning in 1985, and he has pleaded not
guilty. The photos and videos were found in Franklin’s home and garage during a search after his July arrest. None of the photos depicted the alleged victims.
Investigators spent years trying to crack the case. Franklin’s arrest finally came after his son was swabbed for DNA after being arrested on an unrelated matter, and the sample connected the father to evidence from the killings.
This comes from the Robbery/Homicide Division of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Officials believe that the suspected Grim Sleeper may be responsible for several murders that have yet to be attributed to suspect Lonnie David Franklin.
On Thursday officials released several images of woman confiscated from Franklin’s South Los Angeles home.
The images are available on the LAPD website at www.lapdonline.org.
LAPD press release on the jump:
“America’s Got Talent” audition, ecstasy, speed, a missing woman and the arrest of a rock musician. This story has some interesting twists:
Los Angeles police said Tuesday the wife of a man vying for a spot on “America’s Got Talent” was found dead in the stairwell of an upscale hotel where the T.V. show was holding auditions.
Covina native Laura Finley, 48, was discovered about 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning by a guest of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.
Police said her death appeared to be accidental, but they are looking into “other possibilities” as a precaution, Los Angeles Police Lt. Paul Vernon said.
The coroner’s office is waiting for the results of toxicology tests before determining Laura Finley’s cause of death, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Fred Corral said.
Laura Finley grew up in Covina and married her high school sweet heart, Joe Finley, four years after graduating from Northview High School in 1980, said Laura Finley’s sister, Jill Sutterlin.
“My sister loved her husband more than she loved her children and herself,” Sutterlin said. “She was his number one fan.”
Joe Finley called hotel security and reported his wife missing after he got out of bed Saturday, Vernon said.
The 47-year-old rock musician then attended an audition for the NBC reality T.V. show, Vernon said. Police later notified him about the death of his wife.
Joe Finley was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of drug possession, Vernon said.
During an interview with detectives, Joe Finley said he and his wife had consumed ecstasy before her death, Vernon said.
With all his appearances at award shows, trips with his reporter girlfriend and official appearances at big games, it’s hard to know how Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa fit an appearance at LAPD HQ into his schedule today, but he did. Here’s the latest AP story on the capture of a suspect in the Grim Sleeper serial killer case:
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says the arrest of a suspect in the so-called “Grim Sleeper” serial killings ends 25 years of “terror” in the city.
The mayor told a press conference Thursday that he wished to thank a special team of detectives that worked on the case full time.
Fifty-seven-year-old Lonnie Franklin Jr. was charged Wednesday with 10 counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and special circumstance allegations of multiple murders that could make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
The killings in South Los Angeles ranged from 1985 until 2007.
Police Chief Charlie Beck says the detective team made its investigation the largest current case in his department.
This from KTTV, the local Fox affiliate:
Los Angeles – Police say former Los Angeles police Chief Daryl Gates, who resigned in the wake of the Rodney King beating, is seriously ill.
Current Chief Charlie Beck told the city Police Commission on Tuesday that the 83-year-old former chief has a serious malady and that he visited Gates in the hospital over the weekend. But he provided no details.