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Massive Manhunt Continues In Southern California

In Big Bear Lake, Calif., officers searched Thursday for suspect Christopher Jordan Dorner.
Bret Hartman
In Big Bear Lake, Calif., officers searched Thursday for suspect Christopher Jordan Dorner.

(We'll be updating this post throughout the day; most recently at 12:30 p.m. ET.)

Police in Southern California were still searching Friday for former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Jordan Dorner, who they say is the lone suspect in a series of shootings over the past week that have left three people — including a cop — dead. It's feared he is intent on killing more police officers in revenge for his firing from the L.A. police force four years ago.

The massive manhunt that started early Thursday has taken authorities to the Big Bear winter resort about 100 miles from Los Angeles, where the torched remains of a pickup truck Dorner had been driving were found. According to the Los Angeles Times, Big Bear:

"Took on the appearance of a ghost town Thursday as surveillance aircraft buzzed overhead and police in tactical gear and carrying rifles patrolled mountain roads in convoys of SUVs, while others stood guard along major intersections."

But Southern California Public Radio says "a canvass of more than half of an expected 400 homes in Big Bear had turned up no sign of the ex-LAPD officer."

Early Friday morning, SCPR said that though "police spent all night searching the snow mountains in San Bernardino County," they had not found Dorner. Later in the morning, " San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said ... more than 100 officers will continue searching the Big Bear area. ... Police will concentrate on the mountain above the town, where the sheriff said there are many abandoned cabins."

The search has also stretched south to the San Diego area, as CNN reports, "where someone called authorities to say they may have spotted Dorner near the Barona Indian Reservation there. Officers were searching that area, said Sgt. Jason Rothlein of the San Diego County Sheriff Department. He later said the phone call was likely a hoax."

Dorner, authorities say, appears to be seeking revenge for his 2009 dismissal from the Los Angeles Police Department. Dorner had claimed another officer kicked a suspect. The department, however, concluded it was a false accusation.

According to the Times, "on the day Christopher Dorner was fired ... officials took the unusual step of summoning armed guards to stand watch at his disciplinary hearing downtown. Those present were nervous that Dorner might do something rash when he learned that he was being stripped of his badge. He was a hulking, muscled man and his body language left no doubt about the anger seething out of him."

This week on Facebook, police say, Dorner posted a manifesto. The Times says it "portrays Dorner as having no choice but to kill in order to reclaim his destroyed reputation. 'I am a man who has lost complete faith in the system, when the system betrayed, slandered and libeled me,' the manifesto states."

He also sent what CNN say is a "very disturbing" package to the network's Anderson Cooper:

"Inside was a hand-labeled DVD, accompanied by a yellow Post-it note reading, in part, 'I never lied' — apparently in reference to his 2008 dismissal from the LAPD.

"The package also contained a coin wrapped in duct tape. The tape bears the hand-written inscription: 'Thanks, but no thanks, Will Bratton.' ...

"The coin is a souvenir medallion from former LAPD Chief William Bratton, of a type often given out as keepsakes. This one, though, was shot through with bullet holes: three bullet holes to the center and another shot nicked off the top."

The first two people killed were the daughter of the man who represented Dorner when his case was being heard by the police department and her fiance. They were found shot to death last weekend. The officer who died was among several cops who Dorner allegedly fired on Thursday.

Also Thursday, police in Torrance, Calif., mistakenly fired on two women who were driving a pickup similar to Dorner's. Both are expected to recover from their injuries, according to CBS Los Angeles.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.