LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police Sgt. Emada Tingirides heard the fear in her husband's voice on the phone and stopped the patrol car. Her first thought was that one of their six kids had been killed.
It was Feb. 6, and a manifesto by fugitive ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner had just been found. He threatened to kill police officers and their families over his firing from the department in 2008.
"I know that our family was a target, that my husband was a direct target, and for the first two or three hours, I was in disbelief," Tingirides said Tuesday while recounting the family's six-day ordeal as officers hunted for the rogue former cop suspected at the time of killing three people, including one officer.
Her husband, Capt. Phil Tingirides, 54, headed the three-person disciplinary panel that unanimously decided Dorner should be fired for making a false report.
The family's six kids plus a daughter's boyfriend were under police protection for six days. Officers stood guard throughout the night, escorting the children to sports events and other non-routine activities that Dorner could not have anticipated.
The family slept little as they awaited word on Dorner's whereabouts. They avoided TV news reports.
"The Xboxes got used, the TV was on other channels, we played board games," Phil Tingirides said. "We found that it brought our family closer together."
At a news conference Tuesday, Police Chief Charlie Beck said the department's review of Dorner's firing is under way and will take several months.
Dorner, who was black, claimed he was subjected to racism and was targeted for reporting misconduct. He died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound during a siege of a mountain cabin near Big Bear Lake that followed a spree of violence in which authorities say he killed four people, including two law enforcement officers, and wounded three other people.
The threats in Dorner's 11,000-word manifesto posted to Facebook, and titled "Last Resort," led the LAPD to place about 50 officers and their families under protection.
Some decided to leave town, but the Tingirideses stayed in their Irvine home because of the logistics.
"The most ironic thing, is the first thing we talked about, and we had offers, 'Come on up to Big Bear,'" Phil Tingirides said.
Hype about Dorner's police and military prowess in the manifesto and the media made it difficult to sort fact from rumor.
"I had this vision of him climbing through the manholes and coming up and slitting the officers' throats and coming in silently to kill us all," Phil Tingirides said.
It was hard to explain to the kids. Emada Tingirides, 42, simply told their 10-year-old daughter that "a crazy man is trying to do really bad things," but the girl came back with pointed questions after reading about Dorner on social media. Their oldest son asked about a sniper's shooting range.