A 20-year veteran of the LAPD was watching TV Wednesday night when he saw a report about how a former officer was a suspect in a double murder in Irvine.
“I said, ‘Oh, that guy looks familiar,'” he said.
A couple of hours later, around 9 p.m., the phone rang. It was someone from the department’s elite Robbery Homicide Division.
“Where is your family?” the colleague asked. “Get ahold of them, but do not alarm them. You need to get into one room. We’re on our way.”
This veteran officer has gotten a lot of late calls over his career, but never one like this. He asked not to be identified because he is one of a group of officers and former officers under 24-hour protection. He is one of the officers named in a manifesto attributed to Christopher Dorner, the former LAPD cop who has vowed to seek revenge for his termination from the department by killing officers and others. He’s already allegedly murdered three people, including a Riverside police officer.
A manhunt continues for Dorner, whose burned-out truck was found near Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains Thursday.
After he received the call Wednesday night, the veteran officer rushed to round up his family. One child was at a friend’s house, another in a class. He wants as few details provided about his family and his location as possible. He is scared.
“Dorner said he wants to kill the children of the people on the manifesto,” said the officer, who adds that he appreciates the protection.
“There are two officers in my driveway with M16s,” he said of the LAPD security detail that now surrounds him. At least half a dozen heavily armed officers stand guard. Helicopters circle throughout the day. A patrol car watches a nearby freeway off-ramp.
“One kid went to In-N-Out Burger, and they followed him there,” he said.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said he’s dispatched 41 security details to people who may be targets of Dorner. This is life under one of those details.
At night, this officer takes no chances. The lights go off early, and he sleeps with his gun.
“Its literally in the bed between my wife and me, in the holster,” he said. They lock the bedroom door, and the kids sleep on the floor inside – not in their own bedrooms. That would be too far away.
'Why is this happening?'
The kids are frustrated, he said, and asking questions: “What did we do? Why is this happening?” They’re not going to school.
This hardened police officer is not one to run, but in this case he’s decided to leave the state with his family for a while. And he’ll do so secretly.
“I am not even going to use my car,” he said. “I’m going to use a relative’s car.”
“All of my cars are going to be parked out front, as if everybody’s home.”
He will call the LAPD every couple of hours to keep them updated on his status. And he’ll watch the news, “to see if they’ve captured him.”
“I never would have imagined this in my wildest dreams,” he said.