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Sheriff: Dorner Case Is Over In San Bernardino County

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On one side of the room was a bolt action camouflage sniper rifle that Christopher Dorner used as he tried to kill as many Sheriff's deputies as he could in his final standoff. It had the word ‘vengeance' printed on the stock.  On the other side of the room were two more of his victims.. at least their photos.. Deputy Alex Collins , who'll survive, and Deputy Jermiah MacKay who did not.  In the middle was a news conference with Sheriff John McMahon, and among others, his SWAT commander, a tough looking guy named Capt Gregg Herbert.  Across from all of them were assorted members of the press, who had a lot of questions.  First.. did they burn Dorners cabin down ? Again ? No.. not really, but we knew, they said, that if we used pyrotechnic ‘ burner'' tear gas.. a fire was a likelihood.  Was that a problem for anyone ? not really. 

According to a chilling account given by Capt Herbert,... their people were under almost constant fire.  They had to rescue two wounded... they had a plan... tear gas... PA announcements calling Dorner by name,  and urging him to surrender, then , using heavy equipment... literally ripping holes in the walls of the cabin...  according to the Sheriff's, as a last resort... the incendiary tear gas...  As all that was happening, they heard one shot, from a different kind of weapon.. presumably Dorner taking himself out like the cowardly psychopath   that he was.  What about this whole ‘‘clearing my name'' thing.. presumably if he surrendered and stood trial he'd at least have an opportunity to tell his story before he was sent to death row.. Sure it's possible he got a raw deal from the LAPD, though it's also possible he made the whole story up that ultimately got him fired... but lots of people go thru that kind of situation and they don't turn into killers who stalk the daughters of former colleagues and friends and murder them in cold blood.. not to mention the three others, including a USC cop,  a Riverside cop, and the last, the SB County Sheriff's deputy.

In today's briefing, things were a little tense, I have to say.  No one wants to really be in a position of ‘second guessing' the sheriff's, but essentially that's what we were doing.  And I have to say, that the questions about tactics and tear gas and so forth are one thing, and it's easy to play Monday morning quarterback when you're not facing semi automatic rifle fire and two of your friends are already down.. but still.

The questions about what happened during that massive manhunt up on the mountain are perhaps more legitimate and pressing and of concern.   We now know that Dorner hid out in a cabin for days, literally across the street from the huge Sheriff's command post.  We're told that the sheriffs and his army of searches combed every inch of that area in very tough weather conditions, starting last Thursday and obviously didn't find Dorner.  But, when they say they did a comprehensive search, what we now know is that they looked at a house or cabin, knocked on the door, checked to see if it was locked, if it had any sign of forced entry, and if everything looked ok, they moved on.  The Sheriff said no way was he going to authorize his people to kick in doors of private homes.. they have no right, said ‘'no matter who we're looking for''. 

Ok.. that's his decision, but how about something in between taking a look and knocking down doors ? Did they think Dorner was going to leave a sign that says ‘' I'm in here "? they knew about his training and background as a cop and in the Navy... So just what they did with all those people during days and days of searching is still not clear.  Having said that, we can also imagine a scenario where they did go kicking down doors, and some old timer who is home dies of a heart attack.. or someone is shot accidentally ( newspaper ladies anyone ? ) Then we'd all be writing stories about ‘' Cops kick down doors and old man dies from fright" .. so in some sense you can't win. 

Bottom line a lot of brave men and women worked around the clock to find this guy and ultimately take him out.  Only the twisted few who don't have a  firm grasp of the real world will shed any tears for Christopher Dorner.  Will his ‘‘complaints'' against the LAPD be reviewed? Sure.. will any new conclusions come of it.. no way.. is the LAPD perfect... ? also no way... is it better than it was in his day ? Yes.... As I said in my story for tonite's 10p news.. for most of us this story is now over.. but for the families of the four people he murdered in cold blood, their lives have been forever altered and the pain will always be there.

Phil Shuman

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