An LAPD police captain whom Chief Charlie Beck described as one of Christopher Dorner's "primary targets" on Tuesday described feeling overwhelmed during the six-day manhunt for the ex-officer who went on a shooting rampage earlier this month.
Capt. Phil Tingirides was named in the ex-Los Angeles Police Department 11,400-word manifesto and was one of dozens of officers provided a protection detail during the search for Dorner. He and his wife, also an LAPD official, volunteered to share their story after many media requests to speak to officers who were protected, Beck said.
"These 50-plus families that we protected, think about their children," Beck urged during a news conference Tuesday. "They’ll be impacted by this forever."
Tingirides and his wife of two years, LAPD Sgt. Emada Tingirides, said they felt fearful as they hurried to unite with their "blended family" of six children after learning on Feb. 6 that Capt. Tingirides was a target of Dorner.
The news came just a few days after Dorner killed of Monica Quan, daughter of a former LAPD captain, and her fiancé Keith Lawrence in Irvine, where the Tingirides live.
"When you get a phone call and they tell you that someone is after your family, and within a very short distance of your home, they've already killed somebody else's daughter – it made me sick to my stomach. I was very overwhelmed," Capt. Tingirides said.
"We get threats all the time, but rarely do you get threats that are so specific and that somebody's already carried out in the most cowardly way."
Sgt. Tingirides recounted being in the field in the East Los Angeles area when she received a call from her husband telling her to get home or to the LAPD's 77th Street Division.
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"He called me and there was this fear in his voice," she said. "Driving back from downtown Los Angeles to South Los Angeles … with this fear and panic and anxiety in my soul was a drive I will never forget."
She said she was "in disbelief" that her husband was a target of Dorner, who's accused of killing four people in a revenge-fueled shooting spree before dying in a mountain cabin that was engulfed in flames on Feb. 12.
Capt. Tingirides sat on the board that reviewed and made a recommendation for Dorner's firing from LAPD in 2008, which apparently prompted the ex-officer to target law enforcement.
Capt. Tingirides has led the Southeast Area station for the past six years, out of 33-year career with the LAPD; Sgt. Tingirides has been with the department for 18 years and is now in charge of a community policing program in public housing developments.
The couple, married for two years, said they have a "blended family" of six children aged 10 to 24.
Those children were the focus as the family remained mostly in their Irvine home while the hunt for Christopher Dorner continued.
"After the first day, we shut the TV off … the information coming in was kind of overwhelming for the kids, and we could see the fear growing," Capt. Tingirides said.
The family played board games and watched movies, he said, and tried to sensitively field questions from their children about the level of threat they all faced.
The couple, meanwhile, would "go in the garage in cry," Sgt. Tingirides said.
But they also left the house -- trying to give a sense of "normalcy" to their children -- with a mixture of anxiety and pride, she said.
They praised the LA and Irvine police officers who protected them, saying Sgt. Tingirides often woke at night to look down on the officers in their yard.
Sgt. Tingirides, who is black, said she had never experience racism within the LAPD, and she repudiated Dorner's claims that the department had not changed since scandals in the 1990s.
Capt. Tingirides said the experience of being threatened would help him be a better police officer in the crime-plagued southeast Los Angeles area that he serves.
"It does give me a sense of real fear that the community that I serve faces daily," he said. "That will allow me to do my job even better."