EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

February 11, 2013

Search for fugitive ex-cop sets region on edge

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — A heavy police presence blocked off a street in a typically quiet Southern California suburb yesterday, as residents adjusted to life in the midst of a sprawling manhunt for a fugitive whose police and military background and vitriolic online manifesto has put the region on high-alert.

Police are working to protect dozens of families considered targets based on Christopher Dorner's Facebook rant against those he held responsible for ending his career with the Los Angeles Police Department five years ago.

Dorner, 33, is suspected of killing three people, including one police officer, and on the fourth day of the manhunt, authorities put up a $1 million reward for information leading to his capture.

"We will not tolerate this reign of terror," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

After days without resolution, Dorner's fugitive status caused concern among some and downright fear among others in the upscale community that the FBI consistently ranks among the safest cities in the U.S.

"If he did come around this corner, what could happen? We're in the crossfire, with the cops right there," said Irvine resident Joe Palacio, who lives down the street from a home surrounded by authorities protecting a police captain mentioned in Dorner's posting.

"I do think about where I would put my family," he said. "Would we call 911? Would we hide in the closet?"

The neighborhood has been flooded with authorities since Wednesday. Residents have seen police helicopters circle and cruisers stake out schools. Some have responded by keeping their children home. Others no longer walk their dogs at night.

Dorner's background added to the anxiety. The former LAPD officer also 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. 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.

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