Related story: Chistopher Dorner manhunt: Behind the story
Past coverage: Retrace the search for -- and discovery of -- Christopher Dorner from Day 1. View previous articles, photo galleries, videos, timelines and more.
The crime seemed to make no sense.
A young couple, just engaged, shot dead in a car in a luxury condo complex in Irvine, one of the least violent cities in America.
While police searched for a motive and a suspect, news reports focused on the usual biographies: Monica Quan, 28, was a college basketball coach. Keith Lawrence, 27, was a public safety officer at USC. They'd met through basketball and were both popular and outgoing. Who would want to murder them?
The hunt for a killer began on Super Bowl Sunday, the evening of Feb. 3.
For Christopher Jordan Dorner, the hunt had begun long before. For weeks, months or years, he had harbored grudges, amassed weapons and made plans.
The roots of the violence stretched over a lifetime of slights and losses, in his telling. A racial slur hurled at him on the playground in first grade. The high school assistant principal who lied about a stolen watch. The officers who lied about an internal investigation. The police department that wronged and fired him. The courts that rejected his appeals.
The world first heard Dorner's name the evening of Feb. 6, a Wednesday, when Irvine police announced the 33-year-old former Los Angeles Police Department officer was the suspect in the double slaying.
Quan, one of the victims, was the daughter of a former LAPD captain who'd represented Dorner before his 2009 firing.
The Facebook post, which quickly became known as Dorner's manifesto, became public the same night.
Dorner's threat to murder LAPD officers and their families, along with anyone else who got in his way, sparked a manhunt and protection blanket the likes of which no one could remember.
Less than a week later, it would be over. In the meantime, two more innocent people were dead, at least five people were injured and a region was terrorized.
In the hours after police released Dorner's name, officers across Southern California were put on alert to look for a double homicide suspect.
Hundreds of officers rushed to homes across Los Angeles and surrounding counties to protect scores of LAPD officers and their families.
One veteran LAPD officer told KPCC-FM (89.3) of getting a call that Wednesday night from the department's specialized Robbery Homicide Division.
"Where is your family?" the officer on the phone asked. "Get a hold of them, but do not alarm them. You need to get into one room. We're on our way."
Dorner wasn't just a murder suspect on the loose.
"The Violence of action will be HIGH," he wrote. "I am the reason TAC alert was established. I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty."
LAPD protected about 50 people around the clock for the next week. Police released few details about the protection, but it included homes and schools.
The LAPD and other departments ordered motorcycle officers to ride in cars and decided no officers would ride alone while Dorner was at large.
At roll calls or in radio dispatches, thousands of officers in L.A. and elsewhere were warned to look out for Dorner. They included Michael Crain, a veteran officer with the Riverside Police Department.
The unnamed LAPD officer who spoke to KPCC on Friday, Feb. 8, said his kids weren't going to school. Police followed one of his children on a trip to In-N-Out.
The kids were upset, the officer said, asking: "What did we do?" and "Why is this happening?"
Those first nights, the officer brought all his children into his bedroom, locked the door and slept with his holstered gun between himself and his wife, even with half a dozen heavily armed officers on guard outside.
After that, he told KPCC, he was leaving the state with his family.
Name: Christopher Jordan Dorner
Home of Record: La Palma, CA
Date Commissioned: 3 July 2002
Loss Date: 1 Feb 2013
Rank/Date of Rank: Lieutenant / 1 August 2006
Various Reserve Units
Navy Reserve NAS Fallon, NV
Navy Mobilization Processing Site (NMPS) San Diego, CA
Coastal Riverine Group Two Det Bahrain
Coastal Riverine Group One, San Diego, CA
NMPS San Diego, CA
Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit
Navy Personnel Command
Various Aviation Training Units
Awards and Decorations
National Defense Service Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Medal
Navy Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon
Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/ "M" Device
Rifle Marksman Ribbon
Pistol Expert Medal --courtesy U.S. Navy
Dorner's firing, which he said led directly to the killings, stemmed from a 2007 incident. But even before that, he was not happy with the LAPD.
In July 2007, Dorner returned to the department from a year on active duty with the Navy. He'd been on the force for more than two years, but because of his time away, he remained on probation and was assigned to ride with a training officer, Teresa Evans.
From the first day they worked together, Evans later told investigators, Dorner started to complain about the department. He seemed "preoccupied" with the race of officers and suspects, an internal report says, and asked Evans whether she'd seen any racist behavior or been treated badly. She eventually told him to keep their discussions to work.
Dorner, who lived in Norwalk and Orange County growing up, spent a semester at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. He went to Southern Utah University, where he was a running back on the football team before graduating in 2001.
He joined the Navy in 2002 and remained a reservist after joining the LAPD in 2005. In the Navy, he served in Iraq and earned several honors, including the Rifle Marksman Ribbon and the Pistol Expert Medal.
His own writings and official reports give clues to the grievances that had festered for years.
In his manifesto, he wrote of being the only or almost the only black child in schools. In 2006, while in the Police Academy, he made a formal complaint about two fellow recruits making "ethnic remarks," an Internal Affairs report says. Dorner had been shunned after that, his lawyer later wrote.
The complaint was upheld against one officer, but Dorner wasn't happy and considered the LAPD racist. He told Evans he planned to sue the department after his probation ended.
On the morning of July 28, 2007, Dorner and Evans were called to a disturbance at a San Pedro hotel, where a man had been walking back and forth, laughing and talking to himself.
According to police reports, Dorner and Evans walked up to the man, Christopher Gettler, who was sitting on a bench. Dorner ordered him to stand up. Gettler, who had schizophrenia and dementia, didn't obey, so Dorner grabbed him and stood him up.
Gettler started jerking his arm around as he was led away. After struggling, Dorner and Gettler fell into some bushes. Evans twice used a Taser, and eventually Dorner was able to handcuff Gettler.
Almost two weeks later, Dorner told a sergeant he'd left something out of the report at Evans' request: that she kicked Gettler three times.
An Internal Affairs investigation found little support for the kicking allegation and suggested Dorner made a false allegation because he was upset with Evans, who thought his performance wasn't measuring up.
After the incident with Gettler - but before Dorner ever made the kicking allegation - Evans warned Dorner she would give him an unsatisfactory rating and recommend he be taken off the street if his performance didn't improve, according to an Internal Affairs report.
Instead of charging Evans, police officials charged Dorner with making a false report.
An LAPD Board of Rights panel, made up of two police captains and an attorney, heard testimony. Randal Quan, Monica's father, helped represent Dorner before the board, but Dorner wrote that Quan was really on the department's side, not Dorner's.
In January 2009, the board found Dorner guilty of making false statements and making a false complaint. Then-chief William Bratton fired Dorner.
A Superior Court judge and a state appeals court rejected his appeals, ruling it was up to the panel to decide how credible witnesses were.
Having been deemed a liar, Dorner could not let it go.
In his manifesto, he said he would target Evans and officers on the panel and others. He threatened their families as well as other officers whom he said were racist or otherwise didn't measure up.
"This is my last resort," he wrote. "The LAPD has suppressed the truth and it has now lead to deadly consequences. Your day has come."
After Quan and Lawrence were dead and the manhunt began, Dorner surfaced in frightening bursts of violence.
Despite what he said, his victims weren't LAPD commanders or anyone who'd wronged him.
Those whose identities are known were rank-and-file officers from Riverside and San Bernardino County, young men doing their jobs, what used to be Dorner's job.
Instead of taking on the LAPD head-on, Dorner attacked in what police called "cowardly ambushes."
The two men who died were in their 30s, like Dorner. Unlike him, they were fathers.
Early Feb. 7, two LAPD officers were in Corona in Riverside County on a protection detail when a civilian walked up to their marked car and told them about a truck that looked like Dorner's.
The officers drove toward the truck, which sped away and got on a freeway. Dorner fired at the officers as they followed, and they shot back. An officer suffered a graze wound to his head, "literally inches from killing him," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.
About half an hour later, Crain and a young officer he was training were in their Riverside Police Department patrol car stopped at a red light when Dorner drove up and opened fire.
Crain, 34, was killed, and Officer Andrew Tachias was seriously hurt.
Dorner then headed to San Diego. But no one knew that at the time, and the fear and fog of war would soon lead to collateral damage.
An hour west of Riverside, officers in the South Bay had heard reports Dorner might be headed to their area in his gray or blue Nissan Titan.
Just after 5 a.m., LAPD officers opened fire on a truck with its headlights off driving down a street in Torrance where an officer who was under protection lives.
The truck contained not Dorner, but two women delivering newspapers. They turned the headlights off as a courtesy in the pre-dawn hours. Bullets struck one woman in the back, and the other's hand was cut by broken glass.
Torrance police officers stationed nearby heard the shots and raced toward them. A man was heading to a day of surfing when a Torrance officer intentionally crashed into his truck and opened fire. The driver wasn't hit by the shots, but suffered a concussion and a shoulder injury.
An attorney for the women called it "street justice." An attorney for the injured man in the other truck called Torrance police "violent and reckless." Both lawyers could sue.Beck apologized personally to the women and promised to buy them a new truck with donated money.
And the hunt continued.
A mountain search
During the day Feb. 7, a federal agent and sheriff's deputies were doing surveillance on a property in the San Bernardino Mountains belonging to the family of a Dorner friend, identified in court records only as "J.Y."
Then they saw a burning truck on a fire access road.
The abandoned Nissan Titan, later confirmed to be Dorner's, triggered a massive manhunt in the rugged country near Big Bear Lake involving hundreds of deputies, officers and federal agents.
The day grew late, and the temperature dropped to freezing and beyond. Then the snow began to fall.
A San Bernardino County mountain community two hours from Los Angeles, with its two-lane roads, ski resorts and small towns, wondered if it had become the latest target.
For days, parents kept their children home from school. People walked around with guns, sometimes in shoulder holsters, and no one seemed overly concerned about the issue of a permit. Some people wouldn't leave their houses at all.
A reporter's knock on one door drew the answer from inside: "Go away. We have a gun."
Even before the truck was found, the shootings of officers had intensified what had already been a massive search.
The state issued a "Blue Alert," a lookout used when a law enforcement officer is killed or attacked. Freeway signs across California, even hundreds of miles away in San Francisco, alerted motorists to call 911 if they saw Dorner's Nissan Titan pickup truck.
Back in Big Bear, deputies were nervous. They knew they were targets, that the talk in the manifesto wasn't just talk.
But they did their jobs. They wore cold-weather gear and used special vehicles to get into the backcountry. They peered into vacant cabins, looking for signs of break-ins. And they waited.
One sheriff's detective, Jeremiah MacKay, told an Associated Press reporter, "This one you just never know if the guy's going to pop out, or where he's going to pop out. We're hoping this comes to a close without more casualties. The best thing would be for him to give up."
Media arrived from near and far. At one point Friday, the search was suspended amid blizzard conditions.
By Sunday, the mood had begun to lift somewhat. People were wary, but began to guess Dorner had moved on. There had been no more violence.
Elsewhere, reported sightings of Dorner grew, spreading confusion and fear. By Tuesday morning, a tip line had gotten more than 1,000 calls.
Information trickled out about where he'd been before and during the search. He'd been at a Torrance Sport Chalet buying scuba gear on Feb. 1, two days before the Irvine killings. He'd spent a night at a hotel in Manhattan Beach and at least checked into one in San Diego. Early Feb. 7, he tried to steal a boat in San Diego. His ID was found near the Mexican border.
Every hour Dorner was missing, the radius of where he could be grew 60 miles, maybe more.
And now that the truck was burned, no one knew what to look for. Had he stolen another car? The burning truck could have been a diversion. Had he planted a car nearby and escaped after setting in on fire?
Was he in Orange County, San Diego, L.A., Las Vegas, Mexico?
No, he was not.
End of watch
At lunchtime Tuesday, Jim and Carol Reynolds walked into their mountain vacation condo, which was vacant, to clean it for the next renters. An intruder jumped out at them.
"Calm down," the man told them.
Easier said than done: He was holding a gun, and they recognized him as Christopher Dorner.
Dorner had known he would die, and that day had come.
In the manifesto, he wrote that he wanted his brain studied by scientists so they could learn about the effects of "severe depression." He also thanked more than a dozen friends and wrote, "I wish we could have grown old together and spent more time together."
He was sorry he would miss the third "Hangover" movie and the next "Shark Week."
The Reynoldses later told reporters gathered outside their condo what had happened next, as The Associated Press reported.
Karen tried to run, but Dorner caught her. He forced the couple into a bedroom and forced them to lie down. He tied their arms and legs with plastic ties, gagged them with towels and covered their heads with pillowcases wrapped with extension cords.
Again and again, he said he just wanted to clear his name. He didn't want to hurt them, said he'd been watching them as they worked outside and could tell they were good people.
For up to five days, Dorner might have been living in that condo next to a golf course, within sight of officers looking for him. His truck's axle had broken on a fire access road, apparently leading him to hide out under the nose of the searchers.
The Reynoldses think Dorner had been in the condo at least since the previous Friday, the day after his burning truck was found.
After about 15 minutes, Dorner left the Reynoldses, telling Jim to be quiet. He stole their purple Nissan Rogue SUV and started driving down the mountain. Karen freed her hands enough to reach a cellphone and call 911.
State Fish and Wildlife officers saw the stolen SUV and turned around to follow it. Realizing he had been spotted, Dorner turned down a side road and lost the officers.
He crashed the Nissan and carjacked a man driving by, stealing his white truck and barreling down the road.
"He said he wanted to get killed by cops. He was right," the carjacking victim told reporters Friday.
When the wildlife officers saw Dorner again, he fired at them. Then he ditched the truck and ran into a cabin.
The first two sheriff's deputies on the scene hadn't even drawn their weapons when Dorner fired from inside the cabin. MacKay, 35, was killed. Deputy Alex Collins survived.
A ferocious firefight ensued. Even when it stopped, it was unclear whether Dorner was alive. As dark approached, deputies began to tear the cabin down, wall by wall, with an armored vehicle. Then they fired tear gas cannisters into the house, which started a fire.
A single shot was heard from inside. Sheriff's officials believe Dorner killed himself in the basement before the cabin was engulfed, but they said Friday more tests are being done.
In the end, all Dorner left behind were what authorities called "charred human remains."
His manifesto prompted new debate about how far the LAPD has come since its dark past and how black officers are treated. Even some people who condemned the violence, including a fired LAPD officer who now works for another police department, said they understood his frustration.
Dorner even drew a small number of outright supporters, some of whom wrote online, "Go Dorner!"
Beck ordered a reinvestigation of Dorner's dismissal, including new interviews with witnesses, and said investigators will examine the allegations in the manifesto.
In a statement while Dorner was at large, Beck said, "I do this not to appease a murderer. I do it to reassure the public that their police department is transparent and fair in all the things we do."
Dorner called his killings "a necessary evil." He suggested they would purify the department, forcing it to change.
"Sometimes a reset needs to occur," he wrote.
Dorner was convinced his name would be cleared in the 2007 case even if he didn't live to see it happen. That remains to be seen.
But he was wrong about another thing.
The manifesto warned officers: "I assure you that the casualty rate will be high. Because of that, no one will remember your name."
On Wednesday, 8,000 people showed up in Riverside to mourn a fallen officer, and more lined the streets to pay respects. Soon, thousands more will pay tribute to a deputy.
People will remember.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 818-514-5610, @ethartley
Staff Writers Larry Altman, Andrew Edwards and Doug Saunders contributed to this report.