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$1 million reward offered for U.S. police fugitive

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Published : 2013-02-11 09:52
Updated : 2013-02-11 09:52

Authorities on Sunday offered $1 million for information leading to the arrest of the former Los Angeles police officer suspected in three killings and the subject of a manhunt in Southern California's snow-covered mountains.

Camping gear was found along with weapons inside the burned-out truck belonging to suspect Christopher Dorner. The truck found Thursday in this ski resort town was so charred that investigators couldn't be more specific about the nature of its contents, said Los Angeles police Sgt. Rudy Lopez.

Police also were investigating a taunting phone call that may have been made by Dorner to the father of the woman they believe he killed last week. Two law enforcement officers who requested anonymity because of the ongoing investigation told The Associated Press they were trying to determine if the call days after the killing was made by the 33-year-old fugitive or a man posing as him.

Dorner has vowed revenge against several former Los Angeles Police Department colleagues whom he blames for ending his career.

Authorities planned to announce a reward for information leading to his arrest.

On Saturday, Chief Charlie Beck said officials would re-examine the allegations by Dorner, a black former officer, that his law enforcement career was undone by racist colleagues. While he promised to hear out Dorner if he surrenders, Beck stressed that he was ordering a review of his 2007 case because he takes the allegation of racism in his department seriously.

``I do this not to appease a murderer. I do it to reassure the public that their police department is transparent and fair in all the things we do,'' the chief said in a statement.

Authorities suspect Dorner in a series of attacks over the past week that have left three people, including one officer, dead. Authorities say he has vowed revenge against several former colleagues. The killings and threats that Dorner allegedly made in an online rant have led police to provide protection to 50 families, Beck said.

According to documents from a court of appeals hearing, Dorner was fired in 2008 after he made a complaint against his field training officer, saying that said that in the course of an arrest, she kicked suspect Christopher Gettler, a schizophrenic with severe dementia.

Richard Gettler, the schizophrenic man's father, gave testimony that supported Dorner's claim. After his son was returned home 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.

The Los Angeles Police Department has a troubled racial legacy. A community of online sympathizers has formed, echoing complaints against police that linger in some communities. One Facebook page supporting Dorner said ``this is not a page about supporting the killing of innocent people. It's supporting fighting back against corrupt cops and bringing to light what they do.''

A captain who was named a target in Dorner's suspected manifesto posted on Facebook told the Orange County Register newspaper he has not stepped outside his house since he learned of the threat.

``From what I've seen of (Dorner's) actions, he feels he can make allegations for injustice and justify killing people and that's not reasonable,'' said Capt. Phil Tingirides, who chaired a board that stripped Dorner of his badge. ``The end never justifies the means.''

Investigators have been examining the truck to determine if it broke down or was set ablaze as a diversion. Police say the truck had a broken axle. Investigators are trying to determine whether it was already broken when they found it, or whether it was damaged when it was towed away.

Also, newly released surveillance video showed Dorner tossing several items into a Dumpster behind an auto parts store on Monday. The store's manager told FOX5 in San Diego that an employee found a magazine full of bullets, a military belt and a military helmet. Majid Yahyai said he and the employee took the items across the street to a police station.

In his online manifesto, Dorner vowed to use ``every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordnance and survival training I've been given'' to bring ``warfare'' to the LAPD and its families.

Dorner served in the Navy, earning a rifle marksman ribbon and a pistol expert medal. He was assigned to a naval undersea warfare unit and various aviation training units, according to military records. He took leave from the LAPD for a six-month deployment to Bahrain in 2006 and 2007.

The flight training that he received in the Navy prompted the Transportation Security Administration to issue an alert, warning the general aviation community to be on the lookout for Dorner. The extent of his potential flying skills wasn't known, the bulletin said.

Feb. 1 was his last day with the Navy and also the day CNN's Anderson Cooper received a package that contained a note on it that read, in part, ``I never lied.'' A coin riddled with bullet holes that former Chief William Bratton gave out as a souvenir was also in the package.

Police said it was a sign of planning by Dorner before the killing began. (AP)



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