LAPD manhunt: New murder charges filed against Christopher Dorner; $1M reward draws 700 tips (UPDATE)

LA Police Shootings

Chris Carlson/AP

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, center, talks about the $1 million reward for accused killer and fired Los Angeles police officer, Christopher Dorner as Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, left, and Irvine, Calif., Mayor Steven Choi look on during a new conference at the Los Angeles police department in Los Angeles, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.

UPDATE 4:45 p.m.: LAPD has now received over 700 tips from the public, up 100 from Monday morning. They're still following up on all of those leads.

“Irvine had a double homicide in their city so our investigators are working as part of the task force and also here at the Joint Information Center," said Lt. Julia Enge, Irvine PD. "Because we already had an investigation and started an investigation, as this progressed and grew, agencies started coming to our assistance and then became collaborative partners as the task force was formed, and now it’s solidified into a task force."

The Joint Information Center includes support from Riverside PD, Irvine PD, Corona PD, San Bernardino PD, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, the FBI and U.S. Marshals.

— Vanessa Romo

UPDATE 1:14 p.m.: Murder charges have been filed against the fugitive ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner in the shooting death of a Riverside police officer last week, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

The charges include special circumstances, which would make Dorner eligible for the death penalty if prosecutors decide to pursue it and if he’s convicted.

Michael Crain, an 11-year-veteran of the Riverside Police Department, was the training officer allegedly killed by Dorner in an ambush shooting early Thursday.

Dorner has also been charged with three counts of attempted murder for shooting at Crain’s partner and two LAPD officers in Corona minutes before ambushing the Riverside officers. Officials are withholding the identities of those three officers because Dorner is still at large.

RELATED: LAPD manhunt: The search for alleged cop killer Christopher Dorner 

The two LAPD officers were following up on a tip that Dorner was in the area when Dorner is accused of shooting at the officers on an Interstate 15 exit in Corona.

By filing the charges now, Riverside District Attorney Paul Zellerbach explained, Dorner's name will added to more databases across the country as a "felon-at-large," which he argued would help with his capture. There is now a "no-bail" arrest warrant for Dorner, which means he can be taken into custody by law enforcement anywhere in the world.

We will update this story when more information becomes available.

PREVIOUSLY: Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck Monday said a $1 million reward offer has prompted hundreds of tips on Christopher Dorner, the fugitive ex-LAPD officer who allegedly murdered three people and promised to kill more in revenge for his termination from the department.

“We’re getting tips … like crazy,” Beck said. “Hopefully there’s a nugget in there that will lead us to his capture.”

They've received approximately 600 tips, Beck said. The chief said detectives are pouring over all of the leads, which are coming in from throughout Southern California.

“It’s a laborious process, very resource intensive,” he said. “But we may in fact have the clue that leads to him in our hands right now. We just don’t know.”

Beck, who once was chief of detectives at the department, said tips often break cases. In this case, it could come from one of Dorner’s friends, he said.

“If he does have ‘friendlies’ who are helping him, hopefully their friendship will be strained.”

RELATED: LAPD manhunt: The search for ex-cop Christopher Dorner

Beck lifted a tactical alert at the police department for the day, but warned Dorner is no less a threat. He said has more personnel to shift around during the day, and that the tactical alert may be reinstated at night.

The manhunt and protection of officers and former officers threatened by Dorner has strained resources at the department. When the LAPD is on tactical alert, patrol cars only answer high priority calls. Even when the department is not on tactical alert, Beck is reassigning detectives to the Dorner case.

“There are cases that are not being worked today because we are working Dorner,” he said. “Hundreds of officers” are working this case, said the chief.

A command post at the LAPD’s downtown headquarters is coordinating the effort. The department’s elite Robbery Homicide Division is sifting through leads.

Beck said information is also coming in from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies through the Joint Regional Intelligence Center in Norwalk. The facility originally was built to coordinate terrorism-related intelligence.

“It is a joint effort,” Beck said.

The chief dismissed those who have expressed support for Dorner, who claims the LAPD wrongly fired him for raising concerns about brutality by his training officer. LAPD investigators determined he was lying.

“Anybody that is a fantasy supporter of his based on some kind of Robin Hood theory, their level of maturity can’t be very high,” he said. “This is a man who has killed innocents, who is extremely, extremely dangerous.”

The chief spoke at a morning news conference outside Cedars-Sinai hospital, where he joined Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to urge support for a half-cent sale tax hike on the March ballot. They argue it will help avoid layoffs at the department.

Asked if he felt nervous standing outside, Beck cracked half a smile. “Of course, I am a target, and you should all back away a little bit from me.”

“I make light of it because I’ve been doing it too long. This is the fifth day of this,” he said.

 

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