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Snow slows manhunt for alleged US police killer

More than 100 officers have been searching in the California mountains a disgruntled ex-police officer accused of three killings, and threatening to murder more police in a chilling online manifesto.

A digital billboard along Santa Monica Boulevard on the west side of Los Angeles shows a
A digital billboard along Santa Monica Boulevard on the west side of Los Angeles shows a "wanted" alert for former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner Friday, Feb. 8, 2013.
Image: Reed Saxon/AP/Press Association Images

SNOWFALL IN CALIFORNIA mountains is slowing a manhunt for a disgruntled ex-cop accused of three killings, and threatening to murder more police in a chilling online manifesto.

The focus of the search remained on the snow-blanketed ski resort of Big Bear, although there was also a major lockdown in Los Angeles after a reported sighting not far from the LA Police Department (LAPD) headquarters.

Also Friday police searched Dorner’s mother’s home in La Palma, southeast of Los Angeles, where the former copy was believed to have visited recently. There was no word on what was found there.

Revenge

More than 100 officers have been searching in the mountains since Thursday for Christopher Dorner, 33, who threatened online to kill police and their families in revenge for his sacking five years ago.

The manhunt for Dorner - described as armed and “extremely dangerous” – continued through a second day in and around Big Bear, two hours east of Los Angeles, after his burnt-out car was found in nearby woods.

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said the focus was on cabins in the mountain area above the resort. “We want to make sure he didn’t find a place to hide out for the night,” he told reporters.

“There are over 200 cabins up in those mountains that are abandoned or vacant and we’re checking those one by one,” he added.

He declined to comment on suggestions that Dorner – a naval reservist and reportedly a trained sniper – may have deliberately burned his car to lure police or create a false trail while he found some other way off the mountain.

California authorities launched the manhunt Thursday for Dorner, suspected of killing a couple on Sunday, before ambushing two policemen early Thursday, killing one. He also injured another officer in a separate incident.

Manifesto

In an Internet manifesto threatening police and their families, former LAPD officer Dorner pledged to “bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty.”

The LAPD, backed by agencies including the FBI, is protecting over 40 possible targets, some of them identified in the “rambling” online manifesto by Dorner, a US Navy reservist.

There have been multiple reported sightings in the last two days, but none confirmed so far.

On Friday police in downtown Los Angeles scrambled after a reported sighting of Dorner near the Twin Towers jail, not far from LAPD headquarters, which has been under heightened security since the manhunt was launched.

Roads were closed off and helicopters searched from overhead, but the lockdown was called off after an hour or two.

Anger over mistaken identity

Meanwhile a lawyer for two women injured by police, who mistook their car for Dorner’s, lashed out at authorities. The pair were a Latino mother and daughter, delivering newspapers.

The 71-year-old mother, shot twice in the back, remained in hospital Friday. Dorner is described as black, six feet (1.80 meters) tall and 270 pounds (120 kilograms) in weight.

“It looked like the police had the goal of administering street justice and in so doing, didn’t take the time to notice that these two older, small Latina women don’t look like a large black man,” said lawyer Glen T. Jonas.

In Big Bear, McMahon said he was confident that footprints leading away from the burnt-out truck were Dorner’s.

“They did lead around in that wooded area where the truck was found. We continued to follow them until we lost them where the ground got frozen. We couldn’t continue to track,” he said

- © AFP, 2013

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