Rogue Former LAPD Cop has Paul Bunyan-Sized Axe-to-Grind

In law enforcement circles it is common to hear that a suspect has told friends, relatives, and/or accomplices that, “I’ll never be taken alive.” In reality, though, it is usually just tough-talk.  Criminals love to talk-the-talk of John Gotti or Tony Montana—the fictional Cuban cutthroat in the 1983 movie Scareface; rarely, however, do they walk-the-walk.  Fortunately, for officers working the streets, the fear of death serves as a powerful deterrent.

What sends law enforcement into a frenzy is a well-trained killer with nothing to lose, like Christopher Dorner, the former Los Angeles Police Department cop gone rogue.  More than 100 tactically trained officers turned their attention to mountains surrounding Bear Lake, California, on Thursday, where Dorner’s vehicle was found burning.

Last Sunday, police allege that Dorner murdered Monica Quan and her boyfriend, Keith Lawrence, in a condominium parking garage in the Los Angeles suburb of Irvine. Quan is the daughter of a retired LAPD captain turned attorney, who had represented Dorner during an appeal of his termination for providing false statements to internal investigators. According to a manifesto he authored, Dorner believes that the attorney did not act as his advocate, and, instead, failed to attack the jaundiced evidence used against him.

From prior experience, it is not unusual for an accused officer to allege that internal investigators embellished statements, twisted facts, or conveniently omitted exculpatory information. In most law enforcement agencies, the commander of an internal affairs unit reports directly to the chief-of-police. Hence, some believe that the outcomes of high-profile internal investigations are pre-determined by the chief; whereby, the chief’s henchmen construe the facts necessary to make a square peg fit into a round hole.  This pre-ordained outcome is then rubber stamped by the chief-of-police, who self-rationalizes this lack of institutional integrity as the ends justifying means.

Without knowing all the facts, a hunch says that Dorner’s beef with the LAPD stems directly from the aforementioned scenario. Three days prior to the homicides of Quan and Lawrence, The Huffington Post reports that CNN’s Anderson Cooper received a coin, given away by former LAPD Police Chief William Bratton, with bullet holes that read, “I never lied.”

Unlike the usual criminal suspects, most of whom lack the knowledge or willingness to walk-the-walk, Dorner’s Rambo-like credentials and his apparent alacrity to die are enough to cause the hair on the back on any cop’s neck to stand upright.

The Guardian notes that Clint Grimes, a former “navy comrade,” described the marksman Dorner as “friendly, bright and technologically savvy…They’re not looking for a stupid guy, here.”

So where is Christopher Dorner now?

Reports suggest that there are hundreds of cabins in the area where Dorner’s vehicle was found. With the snow and frigid cold descending on the Bear Lake area, Dorner certainly will take shelter. Having knowledge of police and military tactics, he likely knows that, once the snow clears, the police will use infrared equipped helicopters and drones to locate a single individual isolated in a remote location.  This leads me to believe that, if he is not already dead, Dorner might do one of two things: forcibly enter a cabin occupied by others or procure a vehicle.

Reading between the lines, law enforcement is concerned that Dorner might make use of improvised explosives.  This is likely why investigators scoured his mother’s residence and sifted through the garbage.

Hopefully, the manhunt will come to an end peacefully, although the proverbial writing on the wall points to a tragic ending.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

5 Responses

  1. Glenn D. Frankovis

    This will end with Dorner’s death – either by his own hand or at the hand of a Tactical Assault Team or Tactical Sniper.

    February 9, 2013 at 5:38 pm

  2. Manny from Milwaukee

    I don’t know how this situation will end up. It’s been a couple days and so far no one has seen the dude. He is either hiding inside a cave or more likely dead.

    February 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm

  3. Scary

    I’d say your prediction on what Dorner would do was dead on.

    February 13, 2013 at 12:39 am

  4. Eric Donaldson

    Steve, Glenn…your analysis turned out to be spot on. He did take over a cabin occupied by others and he apparently died by his own hand.

    Did anyone else find LAPD Chief Beck’s choice of words interesting when he said they would “reinvestigate” the events leading to Dorner’s firing? If you did a proper and thorough investigation the first time around wouldn’t it suffice to publish it? Or am I nitpicking here?

    February 16, 2013 at 6:04 pm

  5. Steve Spingola

    Eric, my guess is that they might publish the investigation’s findings, but not the actual investigation itself, although, if the case went to the review board, so one would think many of the documents used would be a public record. I don’t believe Beck was chief when Dorner was fired; hence, it costs him nothing politically to suggests another regime might have errored.

    February 17, 2013 at 4:10 pm

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