Christopher Jordan Dorner reward update: Still no decision on $1 million reward for finding him
JOHN ASBURY The Press-Enterprise
10:48 AM, Feb 26, 2013
Almost two weeks since the smoke cleared after Christopher Dorner's fiery end, the status of a $1 million reward for his capture isn't any clearer.
As the violent rampage and mammoth manhunt gripped Southern California and the nation, money poured in from more than 30 agencies and municipalities to try to spark his capture.
A number of people intersected with former Los Angeles police officer Dorner during his 10-day rampage during which he killed four people and wounded two others -- from the motorist who alerted police after spotting the suspect at a Corona gas pump to the Big Bear condo owners taken captive by the rogue city cop.
None, however, may be a perfect fit to claim the money because of the precise language detailing the conditions of the reward. No one, in fact, has yet been identified as a qualifying recipient.
Many have questioned whether the reward would be paid, since the case ended in Dorner's death and not his arrest, but officials maintain they do want to see the money given out. However, they also need buy-in from the people and agencies that contributed the money in the first place.
This week, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said he would like to see the money distributed fairly, whether it's to one person or spread among several people.
"This is the largest reward in law-enforcement history, but it's also the most complicated," Beck said. "My desire is for the reward money to be used. It had its desired effect, it should be paid out."
Dorner's Internet manifesto and bloody vengeance plot placed him at the center of the largest manhunt in California history. Before he killed two law officers and seriously wounded two others, he already was wanted for the murders of an Irvine couple.
San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies cornered Dorner Feb. 12 in a cabin in the Seven Oaks area, southeast of Big Bear. Sheriff's officials believe Dorner died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head after authorities fired pyrotechnic teargas into the cabin and moments before the structure began to blaze.
Two days before his death, however, many observers feared Dorner had escaped from the San Bernardino Mountains and could show up anywhere. On Feb. 10, the Los Angeles mayor's office, the LAPD, Riverside city officials, Riverside County supervisors and others, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, combined to create the $1 million-plus reward.
The Los Angeles mayor's office is waiting for the investigations to conclude and looking to coordinate efforts with all of the donors before making a decision on the payout.
The conditions of the primary reward said the money would be paid for Dorner's "arrest and conviction." Riverside County supervisors adjusted the language for the $100,000 they offered so that it could be given just for Dorner's apprehension.
Exactly who is eligible remains the $1 million question for many of those who came in contact with Dorner while he was wanted by police.
For instance, Lee McDaniel spotted him at a gas station in Corona shortly before 1:30 a.m. McDaniel flagged down two LAPD officers and pointed to Dorner's pickup driving away. Dorner exchanged gunfire with the officers, grazing one of them in the forehead.
After the shooting, McDaniel said he was wracked with guilt, believing he may have triggered the deadly series of events that followed. But police have told him he may have saved other officers' lives by sending Dorner into hiding.
McDaniel said he hasn't been approached about the reward and doesn't know if he would be eligible because his meeting with Dorner happened before the reward was offered. He said he would like to see the money go to the family of Dorner's first Inland victim, Riverside police Officer Michael Crain.
After fending off the LAPD officers, Dorner sped north into Riverside where he came upon a Riverside police car stopped at a red light. Dorner sped through the light and shot Crain and the officer he was training, Andrew Tachias.
Cab driver Karam Kaoud witnessed the shooting and ran to Tachias' side. The badly wounded officer was unable to operate his radio, so Kaoud held down the radio's button so the officer could call for help. Kaoud's actions may not have led to an arrest, as laid out in the reward's details, but they likely saved the officer's life.
Kaoud has not sought the reward and does not consider himself a hero. He said anyone in his position would have done the same thing.
Then, there were Jim and Karen Reynolds, who stumbled upon Dorner when they arrived to check on their vacation rental in Big Bear. Dorner tied up and gagged the couple and stole their SUV.
The couple were able to get free and call 911. Police swarmed to the mountains to join in the search and pursuit. The couple's actions might not have resulted in an arrest, but they inspired the final chase that ended Dorner's rampage -- and his life.