Two women delivering newspapers in Torrance were wounded and another person was shot at on Thursday by police in cases of mistaken identity in a search for a fired LAPD officer wanted in a deadly revenge rampage in which he allegedly targeted law enforcement and their families.
The three victims were driving in dark-colored pickup trucks that matched the description of former Officer Christopher Dorner’s, police said.
Police were posted on protective duty outside the home of one of those officers Thursday morning when they became suspicious of a driver moving through the neighborhood, according to Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck.
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Driving a blue pickup truck with its lights off, the newspaper carriers slowly approached the officer’s house before dawn in the 19500 block of Redbeam Avenue.
Police fired at the truck, thinking it was Dorner's. The truck was riddled with more than 15 bullet holes in the back windshield and tailgate.
One woman was struck in the hand and is expected to recover; the other was shot in the back and her condition was unknown late Thursday. Both were taken to the hospital.
Two blocks away from where that shooting occurred, Torrance police shot at another driver travelling in a pickup truck 25 minutes later.
While responding to the first officer-involved shooting, a Torrance police cruiser collided with a truck that resembled Doran’s. The incident occurred near Beryl Street and Flagler Lane in Redondo Beach, on the border with Torrance.
"Shortly thereafter, shots were fired," said Sgt. Chris Roosen, with Torrance Police Department. "The officers believed that the person involved was Christopher Dorner."
Bullets flew through the windshield, missing the driver.
Neither shooting involved Dorner, 33, who remains at large, police said.
Roosen said police believed Dorner was headed to an officer’s home close to where the shootings happened.
A neighbor said she’d seen at least eight squad cars staked out near the officer’shome. Another said he was rattled but understood the officers’ actions.
"It’s scary," said resident Dan Lankford, "but ... if you have a high-ranking officer that is in the neighborhood and a vehicle that matches that description and the killings that are going on, I could see how it’d be easy to jump to a conclusion."
The manhunt for Dorner – whose 11,000-word online manifesto names several of his former colleagues as targets – had Southern California law enforcement on edge.
Dorner is accused of killing three people – including a police officer – and wounding two others.