LOS ANGELES (AP) — Christopher Dorner‘s threats to kill officers and the families of those linked to his 2008 firing from the department was backed up with deep research that included surveillance of possible victims, officials said Tuesday.
Chief Charlie Beck told reporters Tuesday that the former Los Angeles police officer “did a lot of homework.” Authorities believe he even conducted surveillance near the homes of those who were threatened.
Many officers lived in fear after the threats in Dorner’s 11,000-word manifesto were found on Facebook on Feb. 6.
Titled “Last Resort,” it led the police to place about 50 officers and their families under protection.
Dorner was spotted circling the neighborhood of Sgt. Emada Tingirides, who feared for the lives of her six children. Her husband, Capt. Phil Tingirides, 54, headed the three-person disciplinary panel that unanimously decided Dorner should be fired for making a false report.
“I know that our family was a target, that my husband was a direct target, and for the first two or three hours, I was in disbelief,” Tingirides said Tuesday as she recounted how her family spent the six days as authorities searched for Dorner.
The family’s six children, plus a daughter’s boyfriend, were under police protection. Officers stood guard throughout the night, escorting the children to sports events and other non-routine activities that Dorner could not have anticipated.
The family slept little as they awaited word on Dorner’s whereabouts. Some targets decided to leave town, but the Tingirideses stayed in their Irvine home because of the logistics.
Beck said the department’s review of Dorner’s firing is under way and will take several months. Dorner, who was black, had claimed he was subjected to racism and was targeted for reporting misconduct.
He died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound during a siege of a mountain cabin near Big Bear Lake. Authorities say he went on a spree of violence that included killing four people, including two law enforcement officers, and wounding three other people.
The wait was made worse by the hype about Dorner’s police and military prowess in the manifesto and the media.
“I had this vision of him climbing through the manholes and coming up and slitting the officers’ throats and coming in silently to kill us all,” Phil Tingirides said.
A neighbor of the Tingirideses said he thinks he spoke with Dorner three or four days before Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence were found murdered in a condo parking lot in Irvine, where the Tingirides family lives. The man had been circling the neighborhood in a pickup truck. When the neighbor saw Dorner’s photo and truck on TV, he called the police.
The Tingirideses received strong support for their community, who welcomed them at sporting events despite the presence of armed officers.
Phil Tingirides, a captain at Southeast Area for six years, said a group of active gang members even offered to stand guard.
The family didn’t know whether it would last six months or two years. After nearly a week under protection, they talked about long-term plans and considered a move to Colorado or New York.
Both agreed they wouldn’t return to work until Dorner was captured.
It was early afternoon when Tingirides received a text message from his ex-wife, who was also under protection, alerting him to the standoff with Dorner in the San Bernardino mountains.
Emada Tingirides called the children in to join them in the bedroom and they watched the end together.
The Tingirideses had few contacts with Dorner prior to the mention in the manifesto. Phil Tingirides, who has been with Los Angeles police for 33 years, had never met Dorner before the disciplinary hearing and was not in touch with him afterward.
Emada Tingirides, an 18-year member of the force, recalled a single conversation with Dorner in 2007, when he was dealing with the disciplinary process and brought it up to her.
“He had spoken about being bummed about the incident and that he was telling the truth and he hoped it wasn’t being turned into a race thing because he was black,” said Emada Tingirides, who is also black.
“I remember flat-out telling him this is a process; you’re not going through this process because you are black. This has nothing to do with your color,” she said. “If you’re being honest, stick to that.”
Phil Tingirides said the incident has helped give him perspective about the community he polices.
At 9 square miles, Southeast Area has roughly 45 homicides each year. Some residents asked why he “hunkered down” under such a threat, and he said he realized more so now what it’s like to live with the threat of violence.
“I have a sense of how a lot of the community that we serve on a daily basis feels,” Tingirides said.
(Photo AP: Husband and wife, Sgt. Emada Tingirides and Capt. Phil Tingirides speak during a news conference Tuesday Feb. 19, 2013 in Los Angeles.)