BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (AP) — In a story Feb. 16 about the manhunt for former Los Angeles Police Officer Christopher Dorner, The Associated Press reported erroneously that section 10851 is part of California's penal code. It is part of the state motor vehicle code.
A corrected version of the story is below:
How life on run ended for California police killer
LAPD cop killer gone but suffering remains for 3 police forces, victims' loved ones
By A. BREED, JULIE WATSON and TAMI ABDOLLAH
BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (AP) — As soon as he heard officers were chasing the suspected cop killer in a stolen truck, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy Roger Loftis was certain: His buddy Jeremiah MacKay would be there.
In 15 years with the department, "Jer" had earned about a dozen and a half awards for 10851s — the California motor vehicle code for grand theft auto. Once, while heading to a bar to celebrate another award, MacKay noticed there were no keys in the ignition of the car next to him at a traffic light, and he veered off.
He waltzed into the bar two hours later, a grin stretched across that fair, freckled face, a copy of an auto recovery record in his hand.
Last week, Loftis called his fishing, drinking and golfing buddy to see how he was doing. He knew the 35-year-old detective had been working around the clock, scouring the San Bernardino Mountains in the search for former Los Angeles Police Officer Christopher Dorner.
"If that guy's still on this mountain," MacKay told him, "I'm going to find him."
When the announcer reported that two deputies had exchanged fire with the suspect, Loftis got a sick feeling in his stomach. The 54-year-old corrections officer sent his friend a text.
"I know you're busy," he typed. "But let me know you're OK. ASAP."
There was no answer.
About an hour later, a colleague called with the news: MacKay, husband and father of two, was dead. Soon, so would be his killer.
Like the Unabomber and other mass killers, the 33-year-old former cop wrote a "manifesto." And, like so many others, Dorner's perceptions of the world and its supposed injustices against him seem out of sync with reality.
Was it the supposed institutional racism that cost him his LAPD badge? That was four years ago.
Was it, as he once suggested, residual trauma from his military service in the Middle East? Records show a relatively benign tour of duty, well outside the war zone.
One marriage fell apart; a second went no further than the license application. This, too, he seemed to blame on others — anyone but himself.
"I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own," he wrote to his targets. "I'm terminating yours."
Even his boasts of paramilitary prowess and promise to "bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare" to southern California evaporated in a cavalcade of broken-down vehicles, failed hijackings and a botched hog-tying. His weeklong stint as America's most wanted fugitive ended in a shootout with police, and then what officials said was a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
At 6 feet and 270 pounds, Christopher Jordan Dorner looked every inch the college football player he once was.
Melinda Yates befriended Dorner when they attended Southern Utah University together in Cedar City, a small town northeast of Las Vegas. She remembers him as "kind of like a big teddy bear," always smiling.
Apparently, behind that sweet smile there was rage.
Dorner claimed his earliest experience with racism was in first grade at a Christian school, when he punched and kicked a fellow student who'd called him a "nigger" on the playground. The principal "swatted" the other boy for the slur, then struck Dorner for failing to "turn the other cheek as Jesus did."
"That day," he would write in the now infamous manifesto, "I made a life decision that i will not tolerate racial derogatory terms spoken to me."
Dorner joined the Navy in July 2002. He told a reporter that he wanted to fly SH-60/MH-60 Seahawk helicopters on special operations and search-and-rescue missions — but later told an acquaintance that a problem with vertigo killed those dreams.
So he went into the Navy Reserve doing mostly administrative work after his active-duty stint ended in June 2004.
Soon afterward, he shifted his sights to the LAPD.
He entered the academy on Feb. 7, 2005.
Like the other cadets, Dorner went through the department's rigorous six-month, 920-hour academy training. Upon completion, he joined a training officer on the street, working regular 12-hour shifts. There was at least one bump in the road: He was suspended for two days for accidental discharge of his firearm.
A year after Dorner became a police officer, he rose to the rank of lieutenant in the Navy on Aug. 1, 2006 — his last promotion.
He was called up in the Reserve and left on a six-month deployment to Bahrain on Nov. 3, 2006. He worked mostly providing port protection, earning an Iraq Campaign Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Dorner returned to the LAPD in 2007 and resumed his training. That is when his career — and life — went off the rails.
Sgt. Teresa Evans, his training officer, said Dorner repeatedly asked why he was being put back on patrol without reintegration training. On one occasion, she said, he began weeping in the patrol car and demanded to go back to the academy.
Dorner told Evans that he "might have some issues regarding his deployment," she told investigators.
A day after Evans submitted a poor review, Dorner told internal affairs that she had kicked a mentally ill man in the chest and left cheek during an arrest. He was relieved of duty on Sept. 4, 2008.
A police review panel ultimately found the allegation untrue. He was officially fired on Jan. 2, 2009.
There were already hints of a troubled personal life; Dorner married April Carter in April 2007 and bought a home a few miles from the Las Vegas Strip. Less than a month later, the couple filed for a divorce.
(More than five years later, on Oct. 19 of last year, Las Vegas records show that he and Ali Kristine McDonald obtained a marriage license. But there is no indication they actually married.)
Months after he was fired, Dorner filed a writ in Los Angeles Superior Court against the LAPD, alleging wrongful termination. He continued filing appeals in different courts up until 2011.
But why Dorner unleashed his revenge now is unclear. Former roommate J'Anna Viskoc has a theory.
For about two months in the summer of 2008, the Las Vegas manicurist rented a room in Dorner's home. Aside from all the guns — which were "on the floor, under the cushions" — she remembers the uniformed portraits and framed displays of his medals.
"I feel like being a police officer and being in the military, that was his identity," she said. "That was who he was."
On Feb. 1, Dorner received an honorable discharge, ending his lackluster 11-year Navy career.
"Maybe that's what set him off," Viskoc wondered. "That he couldn't win."
Dorner claimed his first victims on Feb. 3.
Monica Quan, 28, was an assistant women's basketball coach at California State University, Fullerton. She was also the daughter of retired LAPD Capt. Randal Quan — the man who had represented Dorner in his disciplinary hearings.
She lived in an Irvine condominium with boyfriend Keith Lawrence — a former basketball player and University of Southern California cop whose shoes and buckles she had stayed up until the wee hours polishing when he was at the police academy. On Jan. 26, Lawrence, 27, had strewn the apartment floor with rose petals, gotten down on one knee and proposed, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Just over a week later, at 9:10 p.m., Quan and Lawrence were found slumped in their car in the parking lot of their condo complex. They were fatally shot.
The next morning, an employee emptying the trash behind a San Diego-area auto parts store spotted some military gear in a trash bin. Around that same time, Dorner posted his 11,000-word screed entitled "Last Resort" on Facebook.
"This was a necessary evil that had to be executed in order for me to obtain my NAME back," Dorner wrote. "The only thing that changes policy and garners attention is death."
The rambling post went on: "When the truth comes out, the killing stops."
The document would lurk in cyberspace for two more days before police discovered it and connected it to the Irvine killings. They held a news conference to name Dorner as a suspect.
The next day, Feb. 7, Dorner struck again.
Around 1:30 a.m. two LAPD officers assigned to protect one of the people named in Dorner's manifesto spotted him in the Riverside County community of Corona. During a shootout, one officer was grazed on the forehead.