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LAPD manhunt: 50 officers still searching for Dorner in mountains

Snow falls at Bear Mountain Ski Resort where police are continuing the hunt for Christopher Dorner, suspected of killing three people in Southern California.
Snow falls at Bear Mountain Ski Resort where police are continuing the hunt for Christopher Dorner, suspected of killing three people in Southern California.
Grant Slater/KPCC

The search for accused triple-murderer Christopher Dorner will continue in the San Bernardino Mountains until nightfall, and will resume again on Sunday morning.

In a statement released this afternoon, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department says 50 officers are searching the forest area and conducting door-to-door inspections of cabins. Two helicopters assisting in the search, and additional patrol units are on duty in Big Bear Lake.

Clearing skies Saturday provided authorities the right conditions to bring aircraft back into the search. Helicopters that had been grounded by Friday’s snowfall flew again today, using infrared sensors to detect body heat in the cold below.

Timeline: The search for Christopher Dorner

This is the third day that the manhunt has been centered on the mountains surrounding Big Bear Lake. Dorner’s truck was discovered on a fire road on Thursday afternoon.

In his rambling online “manifesto,” Dorner boasted that his military training and knowledge of police tactics gave him an advantage over the army of law enforcement officers involved in the manhunt.

But it appears that the fired LAPD cop lost a significant amount of that advantage Thursday when his Nissan truck broke down along a fire road in the Big Bear area. A broken axle forced Dorner to abandon the vehicle.

ABC7 reports sources say investigators who examined the truck’s burned-out shell say they recovered two AR-15 assault rifles. CBS2LA reports a Glock pistol was also recovered, as well as a camp stove, a cot and propane.

The discoveries suggest Dorner is not as well equipped for escape or as well armed for a fight as he claimed in the manifesto.

Dorner may be familiar with the Big Bear area; records show his mother owns a two-acre parcel of land there. It’s been checked already.

The search has ranged away from the ski resorts in Big Bear. Business fell off on Friday, but with fresh snowfall, skiers and snowboarders jammed the mountain roads again today.

While the search continues, the Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball team will honor assistant coach Monica Quan at this afternoon’s game against UC Riverside on the Fullerton campus.

Quan and her fiancé were found murdered last weekend in a parking structure near their Irvine apartment. Dorner, who had threatened Quan’s father in his manifesto, is wanted in connection with the killings.

He’s also wanted for the shooting death Thursday of a Riverside police officer. The funeral for that officer is planned for Wednesday, Feb. 13. Riverside officials will not reveal the officer’s name over concerns that Dorner might target his family.

Full Christopher Dorner coverage:
Charlie Sheen urges Dorner: Call Me
Monica Quan to be honored at today's Cal State Fullerton game
Cop named in manifesto hunkers down as police search for Dorner 
Some cheer on fugitive Christopher Dorner with anti-cop, gun control, race agendas
Profiles of wanted murder suspect Christopher Dorner, shooting victims