LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A mountaintop search resumed on Saturday for an ex-policeman wanted in three California slayings, after authorities suspended the manhunt during the night as snow grounded their helicopters.
Former Los Angeles officer Christopher Dorner, 33, has declared war on law enforcement officers and their families in a manifesto posted to the Internet that complains of his 2008 firing from the Los Angeles Police Department.
The hunt for Dorner has centered on the Big Bear Lake resort in the San Bernardino Mountains, about 80 miles northeast of Los Angeles, after his burning pickup truck was discovered in the area on Thursday. Authorities have acknowledged he may have slipped away undetected.
On Saturday morning, authorities dispatched officers on the ground and air units, said Cindy Bachman, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, which is leading the search. Officers have used dogs and armored personnel carriers equipped with chains to maneuver through the snow.
Weather had made it too dangerous to use police helicopters equipped with infrared technology, authorities said. With no air support, the ground search was also suspended.
San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said on Friday the mountaintop hunt, which began with officers following tracks that led away from the truck, would press on “until either we discover that he’s left the mountain or we find him.”
The truck turned up in the San Bernardino mountain range on Thursday after police say Dorner exchanged gunfire before dawn with two Los Angeles police officers, grazing one, in the nearby city of Corona. The officers were trying to catch up to Dorner’s truck after it was spotted in the area.
About 20 minutes later, he ambushed two more policemen in their patrol car at a stoplight in the adjacent town of Riverside, killing one and leaving the other badly wounded, police said.
A former Navy lieutenant, Dorner is also suspected in the weekend shooting deaths in Irvine of a university security officer and his fiancée. She was the daughter of a retired Los Angeles police captain singled out for blame in Dorner’s manifesto for his dismissal from the LAPD.
Police said they were providing extra security for about 40 potential targets mentioned in Dorner’s online declaration. It was posted to Facebook but has since been taken down by the website.
Dorner, who once played college football in Utah, blamed the police department not just for firing him but also for ending his Navy career and the loss of close relationships.
Editing by Philip Barbara and Vicki Allen