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Eight Los Angeles police officers violated department policy governing the use of deadly force when they opened fire on a pair of women delivering newspapers in Torrance during the manhunt for fired LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner, the city Police Commission decided Tuesday.
The panel, however, upheld the actions of two other officers who exchanged fire with Dorner earlier the same morning while they were on a protective detail in Corona. One of the officers suffered a graze wound to the head, and the other was sprayed with shattered glass.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck will determine what discipline the officers involved in the Torrance shooting will face. He cinducted this week a news conference to discuss both shootings, while marking the first anniversary of the manhunt for Dorner, who was being sought for the killings of two people in Irvine and had made online threats against various LAPD officers.
Steve Soboroff, president of the Police Commission, said the Torrance and Corona shootings “were tragic for all involved.”
“As in all use-of-force incidents, the department has completed a thorough review and will adopt the lessons learned, both good and bad, from these incidents,” he said.
Last summer, the City Council approved a $4.2 million settlement with the two women who were injured in the Torrance shooting—Margie Carranza and her mother, Emma Hernandez.
The officers who fired on their blue Toyota Tacoma pickup around 4:30 a.m. Feb. 7, 2013, mistook it for the gray Nissan Titan Dorner was driving. About 100 bullets were fired at the Tacoma, police said. Hernandez, 71, suffered two wounds to the back, and Carranza, 47, was cut by auto glass shattered by the gunfire.
The Los Angeles Times reported on its website that an internal LAPD panel that reviewed the shooting had recommended the eight officers be cleared of any wrongdoing, but Beck overruled the finding.
Instead, Beck determined that the officers violated the LAPD’s policy on use of deadly force, and he presented that opinion to the commission. The panel discussed the shooting in closed session before announcing it had upheld the chief’s decision.
Police said Dorner’s rampage was sparked by his outrage at being fired by the LAPD in 2009. He had been with the department since February 2005.
On Feb. 3, 2013, the former U.S. Navy lieutenant gunned down the daughter and future son-in-law of the ex-police captain who represented him at his Board of Rights hearing, according to police. The bodies of 28-year-old Monica Quan and her fiance, 27-year-old USC public safety officer Keith Lawrence, were found in Lawrence’s car in the parking structure of their Irvine condominium building.
The next day, Dorner posted a 6,000-word manifesto on Facebook, vowing to kill named LAPD officers and their families.
Police fanned out across the Southland in search of Dorner, while also protecting the officers named in the manifesto.
The shooting in Corona occurred around 1:20 a.m. Feb. 7, 2013, while the two LAPD officers were guarding an officer’s home. A resident told the officers he had seen a person matching Dorner’s description at a gas station, police said. The officers eventually spotted Dorner’s truck, but Dorner pulled over and opened fire at the officers, prompting the officers to return fire.
About 20 minutes later, Dorner fired on a pair of Riverside police officers stopped at a red light, killing Officer Michael Crain, 34, and wounding the other, police said.
The manhunt continued for nearly a week. Dorner was eventually tracked down in Big Bear, where he engaged in a Feb. 12, 2013, firefight with law enforcement authorities while holed up in a cabin. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Detective Jeremiah MacKay was fatally shot during the gun battle.
The cabin eventually caught fire and burned to the ground. Dorner’s remains were found inside, and coroner’s officials determined the former officer shot himself in the head before burning up in the fire.