BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. More than 100 officers fanned out again at daybreak Saturday in the snow-covered San Bernardino Mountains, resuming the search for the former Los Angeles police officer suspected of going on a deadly rampage to get back at those he blamed for ending his career.
Authorities hope clearer skies will allow aircraft to help them in the manhunt for Christopher Dorner, which entered its fourth day Saturday.
Relentless snowfall on Friday grounded helicopters with heat-sensing technology and hampered their effort to find Dorner, whose burned-out pickup truck was found a day earlier in this ski resort town.
SWAT teams in camouflage scoured the mountains and went door-to-door examining vacant cabins, aware to the reality they could be walking into a trap set by the well-trained former Navy reservist who knows their tactics and strategies as well as they do.
“He can be behind every tree,” said T. Gregory Hall, a retired tactical supervisor for a special emergency response team for the Pennsylvania State Police. “He can try to draw them into an ambush area where he backtracks.”
As authorities weathered heavy snow and freezing temperatures in the mountains, thousands of heavily armed police remained on the lookout throughout California, Nevada, Arizona and northern Mexico for a suspect bent on revenge and willing to die.
Police said officers still were guarding more than 40 people mentioned as targets in a rant they said Dorner posted on Facebook. He vowed to use “every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordnance and survival training I’ve been given” to bring “warfare” to the LAPD and its families.
The manhunt had Southern California residents on edge. Unconfirmed sightings were reported near Barstow, about 60 miles north of the mountain search, and in downtown Los Angeles.
Some law enforcement officials said he appeared to be everywhere and nowhere, and speculated that he was trying to spread out their resources.
For the time being, their focus was on the mountains 80 miles east of Los Angeles — a snowy wilderness, filled with thick forests and jagged peaks, that creates peril as much for Dorner as the officers hunting him.