In response to a request from the Orange County sheriff's union, deputies in patrol cars tonight will be paired with a partner for the duration of the massive manhunt for an allegedly revenge-bent former cop suspected in two murders in Irvine and the ambush killing of a Riverside police officer.
Tom Dominguez, president of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, sent a letter to Sheriff Sandra Hutchens requesting two deputies per patrol unit during the hunt for Christopher Jordan Dorner.
Sheriff's officials responded by ordering two-deputy patrols that began at 6 p.m., according to Kimberly Edds, a spokeswoman for the association.
Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino said the department "has a tactical plan, but we don't want to release the specifics on it."
Dominguez wrote in his letter, "Dorner is a highly trained marksman who has already demonstrated his propensity for killing innocent people. He has made it clear law enforcement officers and their families are fair game."
Noting a statewide officer safety alert, Dominguez added, "We must do everything we can to keep our deputies safe as they assist in this critical operation to find Dorner before any more innocent lives are lost."
Dominguez said many other law enforcement agencies have switched to two- deputy patrols.
"The safety of our deputies must remain a priority as they engage in this extraordinarily dangerous endeavor," he wrote.
Dorner was identified Wednesday night as the suspect in the slayings of 28-year-old Monica Quan, a college basketball coach, and her 27-year-old fiance, USC safety officer Keith Lawrence, who were found shot to death at 9:10 p.m. Sunday in a parked car at 2100 Scholarship in Irvine. They were inside Lawrence's Kia, which was parked at the top of the five-story parking structure for the building where they lived.
According to police, Quan was the daughter of a retired Los Angeles Police Department captain who represented Dorner at the Board of Rights hearing that led to his firing. Investigators believe the killings were carried out in an act of revenge outlined in a lengthy manifesto Dorner posted online -- blaming Quan's father for losing his job.
Dorner, who served in the Navy, is also a suspect in the shooting of an LAPD officer near Interstate 15 and Magnolia Avenue in Corona early today. The officer, who was en route to provide protection to a person named in the manifesto, suffered a graze wound to the head.
About 20 minutes later, Dorner is suspected of ambushing two Riverside officers while they were stopped at a red light at Magnolia and Arlington avenues, according to Riverside police Lt. Guy Toussaint, who said the two were on "routine patrol" and were not searching for Dorner at the time.
A 34-year-old, 11-year veteran of the Riverside force was killed. The wounded officer, who is 27 years old, underwent surgery and is expected to fully recover, Riverside police Chief Sergio Diaz said.
- City News Service