IRVINE – A Riverside police officer was shot to death today and another was wounded in an ambush that police believe was committed by Christopher Jordan Dorner, the fired Los Angeles Police Department officer wanted for the revenge slayings of a college basketball coach and her fiance in Irvine, authorities said.
The gunman, who fled after shooting, ambushed the two Riverside officers while they were stopped at a red light, said Riverside police Lt. Guy Toussaint, adding that the two were on “routine patrol” and were not searching for Dorner at the time. The shooting occurred near Magnolia and Arlington avenues.
The wounded Riverside officer was undergoing surgery this morning, Toussaint said.
Before the Riverside shooting, a shootout in Corona also believed to have involved Dorner left a Los Angeles police officer with a graze wound to the head but his partner was not hurt, police said. The two officers are assigned to the LAPD’s Newton Station, said Newton Station Sgt. Ike Ornelas.
According to the LAPD, the attack in Corona occurred near the Magnolia Avenue exit from northbound Interstate 15 while the officers were en route to protect someone named as a potential target by Dorner, a U.S. Navy reservist whose last known address was in the 4900 block of Sharon Drive in La Palma.
In the hearing that resulted in his firing, Dorner was represented by then-LAPD Capt. Randy Quan, the father of Monica Quan, who was slain with Keith Lawrence Sunday, Irvine Police Department Chief David Maggard said at a news conference Wednesday night.
Dorner, 33, posted a multi-page manifesto online Monday, saying he didn’t mind dying because he already died when he was fired from the LAPD, Maggard said. He wrote that it had been his life’s ambition to be an LAPD officer since he served in the Explorer program, and he blamed Quan for his firing.
“I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own … (so) I am terminating yours,” Dorner wrote to Randy Quan.
The LAPD’s elite Metropolitan squad was sent to protect people mentioned in Dorner’s manifesto. Their names were not released.
The LAPD issued a statement Wednesday saying it was taking the threats “very seriously,” implementing “all measures possible to ensure the safety of our LAPD personnel, their families and the Los Angeles community, and will continue to do so until Dorner is apprehended and all threats have been abated.”
Dorner worked as a police officer from Feb. 7, 2005, until Sept. 4, 2008, “when his employment was terminated,” police said. He was fired for allegedly making false statements about his training officer.
Dorner is black, 6 feet tall and weighs 270 pounds. He has been driving a blue 2005 Nissan Titan pickup, California license plate 7X03191, Maggard said. At a briefing this morning, police said Dorner apparently switched license plates, possibly to a plate with the following number: 8D83987.
Anyone encountering Dorner should consider him “armed and extremely dangerous” and should not approach or try contacting him but instead call 911 immediately, police said. A tip line has been established, (949) 724-7192.
Police who received a call at 9:10 p.m. Sunday about a person slumped over in a parked car at 2100 Scholarship found the recently engaged Quan and Lawrence dead in Lawrence’s Kia, which was parked at the top of the five-story structure for the building where they lived.
There was no evidence Lawrence and 28-year-old Monica Quan were being robbed, said Irvine police Lt. Julia Engen, who noted that the high-density residential community is highly secure with key card access only.
Irvine had two slayings in both 2011 and 2012, according to Engen, who said overall violent crime is at “historic lows” in the city.
Monica Quan was in her second season as an assistant coach for the Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball team after holding a similar position at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.
The couple met while at Concordia University in Irvine, where they both played basketball. Lawrence was seeking a career in law enforcement, which made him a good match for Monica Quan because her father was an LAPD officer, friends said.
The 27-year-old Lawrence, who graduated from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Academy, was working as a patrol officer at USC’s Department of Public Safety. He joined the department in August, said Carl Marziali, USC’s assistant vice president of media relations.
Monica Quan was a star athlete at Walnut High School, then played at Cal State Long Beach from 2003-05 before transferring to Concordia University, where she graduated in 2007 with a degree in exercise and sports science. She received a master’s degree from Concordia in 2009.
Autopsies on the bodies of Lawrence and Monica Quan were completed Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, said Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
“The coroner determined that both died of multiple gunshot wounds,” Amormino said. “No further information will be released at this time.”