Business in Big Bear Dwarfed By Manhunt

The search for a murder suspect turned into a nightmare for people living in the Big Bear area, impacting schools and businesses.

The small mountain community of Big Bear was much calmer Thursday night following an intense manhunt that shut down schools and shuttered iconic ski resorts while police officers went door to door searching for an ex-officer wanted in connection with at least three slayings.

"It's a little disconcerting," said visitor Mike Ruffino. "We get a bit amped up. Our wives aren't too happy about it."

Visitors and residents were warned to stay inside as deputies scoured the area for Christopher Dorner, the subject of region-wide manhunt. Dorner’s charred truck was found on a forestry road Thursday afternoon.

"There's a lot of empty cabins here. You could easily get into a cabin, and lay low for weeks and nobody would even know it," visitor Paul Bergmann said.

Schools went into lockdown mode, causing anxious parents to rush to campus to pick up their children. Ski resorts were evacuated then shut down. And every car was checked as it left the parking lot.

Schools and resorts are expected to re-open Friday, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Big Bear business owners suspect eerie scenes broadcast all day from news outlets lead to a drop in tourists.

"We are losing money, but hopefully the guy gets caught, so that way things can go back to normal," said resort owner DJ Stone, Jr. Stone owns three resorts in Big Bear, including Wolf Creek.

With fresh snowfall expected Thursday night, Stone was hoping for packed rooms, but the manhunt caused half a dozen groups to cancel.

"I'm pretty sure that they were scared more of the resorts being closed," Stone said, "more than the guy being out on the loose."

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