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Fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner pursued by police, drones, and online fans

Fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner pursued by police, drones, and online fans

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Christopher Dorner
Christopher Dorner

Christopher Dorner has used his training as a veteran of the US Navy and Los Angeles Police Department to avoid capture in the week since he allegedly shot and killed his former police chief's daughter and her boyfriend in a California parking lot. This includes two firefights with police officers, in which he reportedly killed one officer and wounded two others. After days spent combing over the San Bernardino Mountains to no avail, authorities have reportedly turned to surveillance drones in their pursuit of Dorner. “The thermal imaging cameras the drones use may be our only hope of finding him," an anonymous senior police official told Express. "On the ground, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

Why are police going to such drastic lengths to find one man? It's because Dorner has made clear that he plans to kill again. "I will utilize every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordnance, and survival training I've been given," he wrote in a "manifesto" posted to Facebook (preserved via Pastebin). The document reveals that Dorner is unlikely to surrender peacefully. "I have nothing to lose. My personal casualty means nothing," it reads. As a result, authorities have resolved to use every tool at their disposal.

"I will utilize every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordnance, and survival training I've been given."

The rumored drone deployment comes after a series of missteps from the LAPD, including two which saw innocent civilians fired upon by officers. Lawyers for Maggie Carranza and her 71-year-old mother Emma Hernandez say police offered no warning before shooting at their truck — a different make and model from that of Dorner's — and unloading between twenty and thirty rounds of firepower. A similar incident followed shortly thereafter, though no injuries were reported. Today a $1 million reward was announced for information leading to the capture of Christopher Dorner, further proof of the urgency authorities are placing on the search.

This wouldn't mark the first time drones have been tapped to hunt citizens on US soil; in 2011, a North Dakota police chief used a Predator drone to locate three fleeing suspects. The LAPD and other law enforcement agencies were granted permission to utilize drones in May of last year. Any drones seeking out Dorner are likely unarmed however, as current FAA guidelines don't permit law enforcement to fly weapon-ready drones in US airspace.

Dorner's manifesto says the murders are 'a necessary evil'

Soon after the manhunt began, Dorner posted the lengthy, wide-reaching "manifesto," describing the murders as "a necessary evil" to instill change in the Los Angeles Police Department. Dorner, relieved of duty in 2009, says his firing came as retribution for reporting a fellow officer's use of excessive force. The nine-page document goes on to crucify the LAPD for internal corruption and racism. Dorner ultimately makes a disturbing pledge, promising to "bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare" against LAPD officers. "I assure you that the casualty rate will be high," the document reads. Dozens of specific targets are called out.

I know your route to and from home, and your division. I know your significant others routine, your children's best friends and recess.

After making his crusade against the LAPD clear, Dorner goes on to address a slew of government officials, celebrities and public figures:

Mr. Vice President, do your due diligence when formulating a concise and permanent national AWB [assault weapons ban] plan. Future generations of Americans depend on your plan and advisement to the president. I’ve always been a fan of yours and consider you one of the few genuine and charismatic politicians. Damn, sounds like an oxymoron calling you an honest politician. It’s the truth.

He also offers his unsolicited take on internet hacker group Anonymous:

Anonymous, you are hated, vilified, and considered an enemy to the state. I personally view you as a culture and a necessity that brings truth to a cloaked world. Forge ahead!

Other individuals addressed by name in the manifesto include Generals David Petraeus and Colin Powell, actors Ellen Degeneres, Larry David, and Charlie Sheen, quarterback Tim Tebow, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, retired Catholic Cardinal Roger Mahony, and Trayvon Martin's killer George Zimmerman.

Even as he's pursued by law enforcement, Dorner and his manifesto have been hailed by supporters on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and other websites. It would appear many people are finding ways to empathize with Dorner's complaints despite his murderous tear. Some have even rationalized the grisly acts. "The point in killing their families is for the crooked cops to suffer. If he directly kills them they'll never know or suffer because they'll be dead. But going after their children will result in a lifetime of grief."

Tim Carmody and T.C. Sottek contributed to this report.