SAN DIEGO — The massive search for a former Los Angeles police officer accused of going on a killing spree unnerved tens of thousands of people across southern California, neighboring states and into Mexico. Within hours, mistaken sightings of the suspect set off a lockdown of a Navy base and led to mistaken shootings by police of innocent people whose vehicles matched a description.
Mexican authorities were ready to shoot to kill if they saw Christopher Dorner cross the border. On the U.S. side, tens of thousands of local, state and federal authorities scrambled following a flood of calls from people believing they had spotted the man, who was fired from the LAPD in 2008 and vowed “warfare to those in LAPD uniform” in a rambling online manifesto.
Authorities believe he shot to death the daughter of a former LAPD captain and her fiance Sunday in an Irvine parking garage, grazed a Los Angeles policeman during a confrontation Thursday morning in Corona and shot two Riverside police officers in an ambush a short time later, killing one.
The Navy shut down its Point Loma base in San Diego after an active-duty service member about 9 a.m. reported seeing Dorner near a hotel on base. Military officials said Dorner had checked into the hotel Tuesday but left the next day.
Navy spokesman Cmdr. Brian Fagan said the 33-year-old former Navy lieutenant left the reserves with an honorable discharge Friday and likely used his military ID to get on base.
The Navy lifted the lockdown about midday after dozens of police officers swarmed the base and failed to find him.
Signs of his trail sent authorities scrambling throughout the day.
In Los Angeles, officers mistakenly wounded two women in suburban Torrance who were in a pickup in the predawn darkness Thursday. One woman was in stable condition with two gunshot wounds and the other was being released after being treated.