Phil Tingirides is a veteran cop who's been threatened and even shot at during his 32 years with the Los Angeles Police Department.
But the fear in his voice when he called his wife that day stopped her in her tracks. Emada Tingirides, an LAPD sergeant, pulled her car to the side of the road, thinking one of their children might have died.
Phil, an LAPD captain, got a call late on the afternoon of Feb. 6 telling him there was a serious threat against him and his family. He called their kids who were out and told them to get home. Police were on the way to their house.
For more than a week, the Tingirides family would live under the threat that they were being targeted by Christopher Dorner. Theirs was among about 50 families, mostly those of LAPD officers, protected around the clock until after Dorner was dead.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said he believed Phil Tingirides was "one of the primary targets" of the ex-officer's rampage. Tingirides was on the LAPD internal board that convicted Dorner of lying, which led to his 2009 firing, and he was threatened by name in Dorner's manifesto.
Addressing Tingirides and 11 other people, Dorner wrote, "Your lack of ethics and conspiring to wrong a just individual are over. Suppressing the truth will leave (sic) to deadly consequences for you and your family."
Beck said there was some evidence Dorner had visited houses of potential targets, though it's not certain which.
The Tingirideses volunteered to speak to reporters Tuesday to help the public understand the effect the threat had on officers and their families.
They also wanted to counter Dorner's allegations that the department is unchanged from the days of the Rodney King and Rampart scandals.
Phil, who joined the LAPD in 1980, said he's seen the department change vastly.
Unmentioned, but powerful in its quiet way, was the fact the Tingirideses are an interracial couple. Emada, 42, is black, and Phil, 54, is white. They said they didn't recognize the racist department Dorner described.
When Phil got the warning call from an Internal Affairs commander Feb. 6, his first thought was to put his wife, a police sergeant, on a helicopter.
"I don't do helicopters," Emada said with a laugh. The two met up at the South Bureau office just off the 110 Freeway and headed home to Irvine as fast as they could.
It was a long ride, filled with silence and their own thoughts. How did they tell their kids what was happening? How would they protect them?
The couple, who have been married almost two years, have six children from prior relationships, four his and two hers. They range in age from 10 to 24.
Two Irvine police cars were already parked in front of their house, and they were chatting with the officers when Phil got a call about dinnertime:
"We're rolling in hot."
Within minutes, seven marked LAPD cruisers zoomed down their street and stopped, officers piling out in tactical helmets and vests, carrying rifles.
"We're LAPD officers, and even for us, it looked impressive," Emada said.
The home would be a fortress for more than a week. Phil said the seriousness hit home when they found themselves explaining to their children what to do if they heard a certain sound or saw something in the night.
"I slept more than Emada, but it was not a good sleep," Phil said of the next week.
Emada would get up at 3 or 4 in the morning and see officers alert and "on point," as she put it. Their weapons were drawn. They were ready.
But ready for what? As police officers, Phil and Emada were used to being able to do something against a threat: call for a helicopter, set up a perimeter. Here, they didn't know where the threat was.
"There were literally days when we thought, `Is he down the street from our house? Is he across the street? Is he hiding by the kids' school?' " Emada said.
They weren't able to keep details about Dorner from their kids. They first tried explaining the security by telling their youngest daughter, who's 10, "There's a crazy man trying to do really bad things to a bunch of captains."
But the girl heard more from her friends through Instagram. Soon she asked:
Was the crazy man the one who'd already shot two people in Irvine? Then their son asked what "sniper" meant.
Phil and Emada stopped watching TV news and told their kids to deactivate their Facebook accounts. To pass the time, they played Xbox games and the board game Catch Phrase. They watched what seemed like every Adam Sandler movie in existence, purposely avoiding shoot- 'em-up flicks.
Phil spent a lot of time on the phone learning about Dorner. He heard about attacks in Corona and Riverside, the latter of which killed Riverside police Officer Michael Crain.
The family grew close to the LAPD officers keeping watch, leaving the doors unlocked so they could come in to use the bathroom. One day, Phil cooked up 14 pounds of carne asada, and they insisted the officers eat in shifts.
A department psychologist advised them to try to keep some sense of normalcy for the kids, so one went to a gymnastics event and another went to a baseball game - both times with police escorts.
Phil and Emada tried to be strong in front of their kids, so they went into the garage to cry. They were determined not to be prisoners in their home, and they started to prepare for this to last months, a year, two years.
On Feb. 12, someone called or texted Phil that they should turn on the news. For five hours the family watched TV as the standoff in the San Bernardino Mountains unfolded, including the death of another officer, San Bernardino County sheriff's Detective Jeremiah MacKay.
There was relief tempered with caution when Dorner appeared to be dead. By the next day, the security detail left their home, and life was returning to normal.
But the effects of the week under siege will linger for the Tingirides family and scores of other people.
"Yes, we're police officers," Beck said. "We all sign up for some degree of risk. Our families don't sign up for that. Our children don't sign up for that."