Even as reports filtered out Tuesday night that a charred body was found in the rubble of a burned cabin in the Southern California mountains, Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig wasn’t far from the situation — emotionally.
Craig said while ex-Los Angeles police officer-turned fugitive and killer Christopher Dorner made reference to the station Craig once commanded as a member of the Los Angeles Police Department, “he made no direct threats against me,” Craig said.
Craig, a supervising officer in the SW area of LA during his tenure there, said Dorner worked under his command.
The veteran policeman who spent 28 years of his continuing law enforcement career with the LAPD said he’s never seen anything like the Dorner case.
“I understand that like anybody else, police officers go bad. But nothing to this degree,” Craig said Tuesday night in a telephone interview from Cincinnati.
According to the Associated Press and other reports, the man believed to be Dorner never came out of the cabin and a single shot was heard inside before the cabin was engulfed in flames, said a law enforcement official who requested anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.
A fourth person — a deputy — died earlier in the latest confrontation with America’s most-wanted man. Officials were waiting for the fire to burn out before approaching the ruins to search for a body, the Associated Press said.
What are regular citizens to make of the Dorner case, one that involves a fired police officer who once had taken an oath to serve and protect?
“We live in some very challenging times,” Craig said, noting that once “it was unheard of, even rare, that a police officer would be attacked. It was rare that a police officer would turn and attack another police officer. When you look at the aggression (Dorner was accused of committing) … it could happen anywhere.”
Authorities focused their hunt for Dorner on that cabin east of Los Angeles since they said he launched a campaign to exact revenge against the LAPD for his firing. Authorities said Dorner threatened to bring “warfare” to LAPD officers and their families, spreading fear and setting off a search for him across three states and Mexico.
Police have said Dorner began his run Feb. 6 after they connected the slayings of a former police captain’s daughter and her fiance with an angry Facebook rant they said Dorner posted. Threats against the LAPD led officials to assign officers to protect officers and their families.
“He made it very clear in his manifesto that he was going to die,” Craig said.
Within hours of the release of photos of the 6-foot, 270-pounder described as armed and “extremely dangerous,” police say, Dorner tried to steal a boat in San Diego to flee to Mexico and then ambushed police in Riverside County, shooting three and killing one.
“My heart and prayers go out to the families that have suffered great pain,” the Queen City’s top cop said.
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