With a $1 million reward on offer for information leading to his capture and conviction, triple-murder suspect Christopher Jordan Dorner remained the target of a massive manhunt Tuesday, with the dragnet now stretching across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mexican authorities got a tip that the 33-year-old fired Los Angeles Police Department officer, who is suspected of killing two people in Irvine and a police officer in Riverside, had been spotted at the Tapatio Hotel in Tijuana, but when they raided it Monday night, he was not there.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection was expected to increase its scrutiny of vehicles traveling into Mexico amid the burgeoning search for Dorner.
Authorities have received over 700 tips on Dorner's possible whereabouts, said Detective Gus Villanueva of the LAPD's Media Relations Section.
Dorner was charged with capital murder Monday by Riverside County prosecutors for the Thursday morning fatal shooting of Riverside Police Officer Michael Crain. Dorner was also charged with three counts of attempted murder for the shooting of Crain's partner and a shooting attack on two LAPD officers in Corona. One of the LAPD officers suffered a graze wound in that shooting, which occurred about 15-20 minutes before Crain and his partner were attacked, police said.
The search for Dorner has been centered in recent days in the Big Bear area of San Bernardino County, where the former officer's pickup truck was found burning Thursday afternoon. But according to a federal arrest warrant affidavit filed last week, U.S. authorities believe Dorner may have already fled to Mexico.
The affidavit notes that Dorner's truck was found near property owned in the Big Bear area by relatives of a known Dorner associate, who was spotted early Thursday afternoon in Costa Mesa. The affidavit also notes that Dorner's "personal belongings, including his wallet and identification cards," were found Thursday by San Diego police near the U.S.-Mexico border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
On Feb. 3, Dorner allegedly gunned down the daughter and future son-in- law of the ex-police captain who represented him at a hearing that resulted in his dismissal from the LAPD. The bodies of 28-year-old college basketball coach Monica Quan and her fiance, 27-year-old Keith Lawrence, were found in Lawrence's car in the parking structure of their Irvine condominium building.
The next day, Dorner allegedly posted a 6,000-word manifesto on Facebook, vowing to kill named LAPD officers and their families. Fifty Los Angeles police officers and their families are being watched, authorities said.
On Thursday, Dorner was allegedly involved in the shootout with Los Angeles police guarding an officer's home in Corona, leaving an LAPD officer with a graze wound to the head, police said. About 20 minutes later, he allegedly fired on the pair of Riverside police officers stopped at a red light, killing Crain, 34, and wounding the other. The wounded officer was expected to recover.
Crain, an 11-year department veteran, was a former Marine. He is survived by his wife, Regina, and two children, Ian, 10, and Kaitlyn, 4. Crain left "an unforgettable impression" on everyone he met, Riverside police Lt. Guy Toussaint said. His funeral is set for Wednesday.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Sunday announced a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Dorner, saying the money came from "business, unions, government, law enforcement and community groups." Police Chief Charlie Beck said the massive reward was his wife's idea and called it "the largest award ever offered locally."
LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said Monday that hundreds of local, state and federal investigators have been sorting through clues in their search for Dorner. A reported sighting at a Northridge home-improvement store on Sunday led to an hours-long search. On Monday, a man matching Dorner's description was questioned by police as he exited a KFC restaurant in Tarzana.
Neiman urged anyone with information on Dorner's possible whereabouts to call (213) 486-6860, or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS. However, anyone seeing Dorner should call 911 immediately, Neiman said.
The search for Dorner, meanwhile, continued to include the area around Big Bear, where his torched pickup truck was found Thursday, but it was scaled back.
According to a federal arrest warrant affidavit, someone claiming to be Dorner called Quan's father around 12:30 p.m. Thursday, telling the retired police captain he "should have done a better job of protecting his daughter."
U.S. Marshals Service Inspector Craig McClusky wrote in the affidavit that the call was traced to Vancouver, Wash., but based on other evidence, including sightings of Dorner, "I do not believe that he was in Washington at the time of that call."
McClusky wrote that there is "probable cause" to believe Dorner has traveled "from California to Mexico with the intent to avoid prosecution."
-City News Service