Return to Transcripts main page

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Massive Manhunt for Fired LAPD Officer Suspected in Killings

Aired February 07, 2013 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It is hard to imagine a bigger night because it's -- it's hard to imagine -- forecast a bigger winter storm than the one that forecasters say could dump more than two feet of snow on parts of the country. Tens of millions of people could be affected. Already thousands of flights have been canceled. We'll tell you what you need to know about where the storm is going to be or where you can be to stay safe.

We begin, though, with breaking news tonight in the hunt here at home for a killer. Authorities say he's got the means to inflict mass casualties and a mission calling for precisely that.

This is a man that police all over Southern California, as you know, are trying to find and may now be one step closer to locating. Christopher Jordan Dorner, ex-Navy Reservist, ex-LAPD officer with a grudge against the LAPD. Now if you see him, do not, I repeat, do not approach him. Get some place safe and contact authorities.

The breaking news tonight, police have located his burned-out truck near Big Bear Lake. Now that's about 100 miles east of Los Angeles. That's the truck there, burned out. They have not, however, located Dorner.

Just moments ago, we learned that the FBI went to the suspect's home in Las Vegas. We do not yet know, however, what, if anything, they discovered there.

Meantime, back at Big Bear Lake in California, the "L.A. Times" is reporting that fresh tracks were spotted nearby. We ourselves know that authorities are going door-to-door in the surrounding area, the checkpoints are up on local roads, and that the FAA has barred all local news choppers from the air space overhead.

As for the suspect himself, authorities say that Christopher Dorner is not only armed, not only dangerous, and vowing revenge on his former LAPD officers but also people close to them. In a strange and chilling online manifesto allegedly written by Dorner, he says, and I quote, "I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own, I'm terminating yours."

And as for his capabilities, a local police chief had this to say, quote, "Of course he knows what he's doing. We trained him."

In addition to the manifesto, I learned today that Dorner sent me a package to my office here at CNN in New York. The package arrived on February 1st. As you might imagine, I receive a lot of strange packages and letters and we have a system in place for dealing with them. I did not personally see this package or know about it until today.

The package contained a DVD and a bullet-riddled keepsake coin. That's the coin right there. It's called the Challenge Coin. It's from former -- his former boss, LAPD Police Chief William Bratton, who joins me shortly to talk about it. That coin had three bullet holes in the center, as you can see. And one partial hole on its edge, on the upper right-hand part of the -- of the coin.

We're going to show you more of the contents of that package in a moment. In addition, we're going to talk to a veteran crime reporter and crime fighter, John Miller, criminal psychologist Kris Mohandie, about ways of stopping a revenge killer, and Chris Lawrence on the kind of sniper training that the suspect has.

But we begin with Randi Kaye, who's bringing us up-to-date information on the man and the manhunt.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We are under attack. That was the word from one California police lieutenant after at least three officers were shot early Thursday morning. One officer died.

Police say the shooter is this man, 33-year-old Christopher Jordan Dorner, a former LAPD officer who was fired in 2008.

(On camera): Police say two of the officers were shot around 1:30 in the morning here in Riverside. They were sitting in their patrol car, parked at a nearby stoplight at Magnolia and Arlington Avenues. That's when investigators say Dorner ambushed them and opened fire.

(Voice-over): A Good Samaritan called for help using the officers' car radio. One of the officers died. The other was taken to Riverside Community Hospital. The reason for the rampage, it appears to be Dorner's attempt at revenge for losing his job. And an effort to clear his name.

All of that found online in a long, rambling manifesto allegedly posted by Dorner. In it, there are direct threats against police officers Dorner once worked with, as well as threats against their families.

It reads, "There will be an element of surprise where you work, live, eat, and sleep. I have the strength and benefits of being unpredictable, unconventional, and unforgiving."

Throughout the manifesto, Dorner accuses the other officers of costing him his career, also of racism and use of excessive force.

(On camera): About an hour before that fatal shooting in riverside, police believe Dorner shot another officer here in Corona, about 13 miles away. The bullet just grazed him. The officer in this incident had been assigned to protect other officers who Dorner had allegedly threatened in his online postings.

JOSE PEREZ, LAPD DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF: The officer was suddenly fired upon with a shoulder weapon. Officers were able to return fire. One officer sustained a graze wound to his head. The vehicle sustained numerous hits.

KAYE (voice-over): The officers are OK, but Dorner got away. Immediately, the California Highway Patrol issues what's called a blue alert to law enforcement, warning them a gunman considered armed and extremely dangerous is on the run.

The blue alert is activated for nine California counties stretching all the way south to San Diego where police say the attempted hijacking of a boat could be linked to Dorner. Dorner's police badge was also found in the city.

(On camera): But Dorner's shooting spree may have started days ago here in Irvine. On Sunday morning, Monica Quan, the daughter of a police official named in Dorner's alleged manifesto, was shot and killed along with her fiance while sitting in their car. On Wednesday, police officially named Dorner as the suspect.

(Voice-over): Quan, who was 27, was the daughter of retired Los Angeles police officer Randal Quan. In Dorner's alleged online rantings, he blamed Randal Quan for mishandling the appeal for his termination. Dorner lost his appeal in 2011.

Before Monica Quan was killed, Dorner allegedly made this threat in his writings. "I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own. I'm terminating yours."

Police here know what they're up against. Neighborhoods are on lockdown. Intersections sealed off. Officers on edge. So much so that two undercover LAPD officers opened fire on a pick-up truck they thought was Dorner's. Turns out it was two women delivering newspapers. One was reportedly shot in the hand. The other in the back. But they'll be OK.

Meantime, the LAPD says it's doing all it can to insure the safety of their personnel and their families.

CHIEF CHARLIE BECK, LOS ANGELES POLICE: Of course, he knows what he's doing. We trained him. He was also a member of the Armed Forces. It is -- it is extremely worrisome and scary. Especially to the police officers involved.

KAYE: Those officers know if the online writings do belong to Christopher Dorner, then police have a bull's eye on their back, and the man coming for them is want afraid to die.


COOPER: Randi, at this hour, do authorities have any idea where Dorner is? We know they're getting closer, there's that -- a local news report about tracks away from the truck. KAYE: Right, Anderson. They certainly hope they're getting closer. At this hour, Bear Mountain Ski Resort is on lockdown. As you mentioned they found Christopher Dorner's truck around 2:30 this afternoon here. They are going through that truck. It is burned out. They wouldn't say whether or not they found any weapons in that truck, but they did say that they did find those fresh footprints. They're certainly trying to follow up on those.

There's about 400 homes in that ski resort area. They are going door to door. They've called in a lot of extra officers to help. It's unclear if any of those homes are vacant or if people are there part time or full time. So he could be hiding out in one of those homes.

They also, we're told, haven't received any reports of any stolen vehicles. So the question is, is he still on foot? Can he carry all his ammunition, all his weaponry on foot? But no question about it, Anderson, everybody here still on edge. If you look around here, the officers, they're carrying rifles all over the area. They have their hands on their weapons. Every moment, just a short time ago, there were SWAT teams and police cars rushing by us, so they're certainly on edge, hoping to -- hoping to get an end to this safely -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Well, let's hope they do. Randi, I appreciate it.

As I mentioned at the top, in addition to posting that manifesto online, the subject, Christopher Dorner, also reached out to me directly, mailing a parcel to my offense that arrived on the first of this month. My assistant opened it. Inside he found this hand labeled DVD accompanied by a yellow Post-It note reading in part, quote, "I never lied." Apparently in reference to his 2008 dismissal from the LAPD.

Now the DVD shows testimony by a man who says he was kicked by an LAPD officer. Dorner confirming his story, the story he says got him kicked off the force initially.

Also in the package as I mentioned a coin wrapped in duct tape. Now the tape bearing a handwritten inscription, "Thanks but no thanks, Will Bratton." That's obviously his former boss. On the top of the duct tape you can see there's also an abbreviation. Now at first today, we thought it might be the initials IMOA, which commonly is an abbreviation for "Imagine a More Open America."

However, if you look more closely at it, as we have now, it appears to be the number one with a space and then letter M.O.A. "1 M.O.A." could stand for "One Minute of Ark," which is a marksmanship term.

Now here's the coin again, you can see the bullet holes, three to the center, another shot nicked off the top of that. That's the coin that was part of this parcel.

And as I mention, I was made aware of this parcel just today as was the editorial staff of my program and also CNN management, and obviously upon learning of its existence, CNN alerted both Chief Bratton and law enforcement.

Bill Bratton, as you know, is the former New York Police Commissioner, as well as L.A.'s retired chief of police. He joins me now.

So, Chief Bratton, I want to show you some of the images that apparently were sent to me. I didn't know about this until really just a few hours ago. And I know you're seeing these images for the first time. The first is a coin, the kind of coin that I would imagine either you give out or it's the kind of things soldiers often give out or on police forces they have a kind of a ceremonial coin with some bullet holes clearly shot through both in the center and off to the side.

What do you make this? Do you have any idea how this man might have gotten this coin?

WILLIAM BRATTON, FORMER LOS ANGELES POLICE CHIEF: Chances are he would have received it from me. The photograph that's been displayed very widely today of me shaking his hand in front of a pair of flags probably would have been the custom I have of when somebody was activated into the military, heading overseas, I'd bring them up to the office, present them with one of these coins as a token of respect and good luck, and also have their family come up to me. I have a liaison officer who would then basically work with the family during the period of time when the officer was gone.

So, looking at this coin, that is a -- what is called a "Challenge Coin." It's my personal coin that I give out to people, and it's a coin that's usually about an inch and a half to two inches in width. So it looks like he probably shot that through with a -- like a .22.

COOPER: It's the kind of thing that -- I think it's a military tradition, whenever I'm with a military group, you know, oftentimes they'll coin me, or --

BRATTON: That's right.

COOPER: Even I think President Obama has some other high officials have them. Do you remember anything about this person?

BRATTON: I actually do not. And it's interesting because he's a very distinctive looking individual, just the sheer size of him, but in the course of a year in the LAPD, I would probably handle anywhere from 200 to 400 disciplinary cases, major cases. And in a 10,000- person department over the space of seven years, I don't recall him, as distinctive as he looks. And I don't recall these specific set of circumstances for which I'd fired him or discharged him.

Now I have reviewed all of those documents, but I have no recollection of it in the sense of even after meeting him.

COOPER: In the parcel that was sent to me, and again, this arrived, I guess, on February 1st, but I'm just learning about it and CNN management, frankly, is just learning about it today, there was duct tape that the coin was wrapped in. And on the duct tape, it says -- it's just kind of hard to see there. It says, "Thanks but no thanks, Will Bratton." And up on the top, it says, I am AO -- excuse me, "I.M.O.A.," which we thinks is an abbreviation for "Imagine a More Open America.

Do you have any connection to -- I mean, does that make any sense to you?

BRATTON: It doesn't make any sense to me. I received a call from your Security Department just about an hour ago, actually, informing me that they had received this package, I believe, last Friday. And as you have indicated, you are just becoming aware of it today, as is senior management, I guess, at CNN.

What you've shown me is, being quite frank with you, very disturbing, I think, to anybody that would look at it and I understand it was accompanied by some form of letter or written correspondence, so one of the issues I spoke to Chief Beck a short while ago to inform him of this, and my understanding is your corporate security has forwarded it to the FBI and the FBI will be sharing it with the LAPD as they move their investigation forward.

COOPER: Yes, and I didn't see it because as you can imagine I get a lot of correspondence and a lot of kind of nutty correspondence and usually just forward it.

BRATTON: As I did when I was chief of police.

COOPER: Right. So usually it doesn't -- it doesn't even go to me. I just sort of forward it on to the security folks.

He lists you in this manifesto. He clearly has some sort of a beef with you. Does -- I mean, does any of that resonate? Does it make any sense to you?

BRATTON: Well, in terms of without speaking specifically to the manifesto and what's in it, although there's public documents, I understand the media has been very good about not identifying other people who are listed in the document. In my case, I was the chief of police that signed off on his discharge from the LAPD. So in terms of his grievances, I could understand his grievance directed toward me and my capacity as chief of police, and -- but a lot of people get discharged, and a lot of police officers get discharged. And none of them resort to the actions that this young man has taken.

COOPER: Well, Mr. Bratton, I appreciate you joining us. Chief Bratton, thanks very much.

BRATTON: OK. Thank you.

COOPER: I want to bring in a colleague with deep experience both reporting on law enforcement, also participating in it. John Miller worked in counterterrorism and criminal intelligence for the LAPD for three years. He's also a CBS "This Morning" senior correspondent.

You've obviously got a long history in law enforcement. What do you make of this suspect? And given his training how hard is it to track him down?

JOHN MILLER, CBS NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a pretty unique case. In some ways, you have, you know, the classic manhunt, but you also have something that's quite an anomaly here which is you have the hunted, who is also hunting the hunters. He has obviously fired at police officers. He's turned on them as they have approached him. So this is not your average manhunt. You're talking about a guy who has military training in close quarter battle tactics, all kinds of weapons, long weapons, short weapons, automatic weapons, semiautomatic weapons.

He's certified in intelligence and counter intelligence which means he's learned the trade craft of intelligence and spy work. How --

COOPER: So he knows how they would be looking for him?

MILLER: Well, and then beyond the military training, of course, he has the training in tactics and procedures of the LAPD. I went through the same academy that he did and they spent a great deal of time on firearms proficiency and tactical proficiency. And clearly, he's using that to whatever advantage he can. He knows how they think, he knows how they work.

COOPER: What's not going in his favor?

MILLER: What's not going in his favor is the flipside of that coin, which is a criminal who is on the run, Anderson, has the ability to tap into their criminal network, their colleagues, their associates, other criminals who will give them aid, comfort, money, cars, phones.

COOPER: A place to hide.

MILLER: A place to be harbored, an escape route. His social circle is going to be fellow military officers and police officers. And those are not the people he can turn to. So he's facing as his profile has risen over the past 24 hours, an increasing sense of isolation of where can he turn to.

The discovery of the truck up in Big Bear is actually interesting and perhaps telling. The fact that he set it on fire as opposed to leaving it by the side of the road in an area where nobody was really looking almost suggests he wanted to draw attention to it. So that begs the question, has he planned some big fiery ending where there's going to be a confrontation and he'll go out in a blaze of glory? We've seen that before. Or has he planned an out where he had a stashed vehicle, a disguise, new identification, and he's back on the move?

Right now, it's too early to tell.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, given that he had this whole manifesto written and that the incident that seems to have so angered him took place back in 2008-2009, you would think he had a lot of time to kind of plan this, and yet a lot of his movements seemed kind of disorganized. I mean, he tried to get this boat. That didn't quite work out. Then he left his wallet in that area. His wallet was found in the area. Does it seem like he's sort of has the steps planned out?

MILLER: I think a lot of -- a lot of thought went into this. And he has been -- he's shown some disorganized traits but also some very organized ones. You know, sending the packages out, including the one that came here and other packages that went to other individuals and doing so at the end of January so he could kind of pre-stage, this is who I am. This is what my grievance is, so that that information would be handy to people once his name emerged.

The idea that he cut off all his communications, his cellular, telephones, his Internet accounts, and everything on January 31st, he basically wiped himself off the social network, except for the Facebook posting which was an intentional advertising part of that pre-staging. And that he had already done the pre-operational surveillance on who his victims would be, where they live, where their family members live.

I think if you look at the San Diego thing, there's a couple of questions there, in stealing the boat, when he tried to do that, he was on his way to getting away, but he didn't handle the dock lines correctly. They got caught up in the rotors. And that foiled his escape there. But you have to wonder, was that part of a plan to go south over the Mexican border by sea, or was he going north to some landing point where he had another part of his plan?

He's put a lot of thought into this.

COOPER: The fact that he went after people -- police officers who were guarding people who were in his manifesto I found -- I mean, very aggressive. I mean, the fact that he would go after the police officers who were standing body guard over others.

MILLER: Yes. And how that happened, I learned a little bit more is, these were -- they pretty much used the entire elite Metro Division of the LAPD to guard these targets. And then when they ran out of Metro officers because of the number of potential targets, they took one of the gang units from every area and assigned them to additional potential targets.

And these officers had rolled into a gas station down in Riverside. And a citizen who'd seen all those signs on the highway, be on the lookout for this truck, said, hey, I think that truck is right on the overpass at Magnolia. So they circled out of the gas station, headed towards Magnolia. As they were rolling up on the truck, he came out of the truck, over the top with a semiautomatic rifle, opened fire on the officers.

They returned fire, but you know, what it tells us, Anderson, is he's not waiting for the car to stop. He's not looking to take off and get in a chase. If given the opportunity, he's going to take the element of surprise, the element of speed, and the violence of action. The very things that they taught him and trained him in the Navy and he's going to use that to try and overwhelm. COOPER: It's scary stuff. John Miller, I appreciate it. Thanks very much. A lot of interesting details.

We just learned the local authorities are planning to hold a news conference at 8:30 Eastern Time. About 12 minutes from now. We'll come back to the manhunt shortly. Looking more closely at the alleged killer's manifesto. Is there anything to be learned in that as well as his sniper training?

Again, the breaking news, his truck has been located about 100 miles east of L.A. A very extensive search obviously underway right now.

First, though, some breaking news that could bury tens of millions of people in a ton of snow. Chad Myers in the Weather Center. He's been watching a -- watching the storm grow into really kind of a monster.

Chad, what's the latest?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, we still have in this pink area here, Anderson, all winter storm warnings. But more importantly, 23 million Americans are in blizzard warnings tonight. Starting about 6:00 a.m. tomorrow, and some spots won't even get snow until maybe even noon. But by the time we do this show again tomorrow night, literally, there could be 10 inches of snow in some spots and it will still be snowing.

This is the best -- or the least amount of accumulation model that I have seen, thinking that this isn't going to happen. 7.5 for New York City, 12.8 for Boston. This model does believe the merger of the two storms, one to the west, one coming in from the south, will happen with New York City at 14, Boston at 34 inches of snow before it's all done. And winds to 60 miles per hour.


MYERS: One more thing, Anderson. Where that Big Bear truck was located out west, there's now a winter storm warning there as well for those officers.

COOPER: Wow, interesting. That's going to make it a lot more difficult.

Chad, thanks very much. Going to check up with Chad later in the hour.

Let us know what you think about all that's going on. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I'm tweeting tonight.

Up next, back to the manhunt for Christopher Dorner and the hunt for motives in the words he allegedly wrote and posted online. Is there anything to learn about how to catch him from those words? And as I just mentioned, we're expecting a press conference about seven minutes from now. Stay with us for that.


COOPER: Back to the breaking news out of Southern California. We are waiting for a press conference from Big Bear where police have located the truck belonging to the fugitive, suspected killed and former LAPD officer, Christopher Dorner. Fresh tracks, as we mentioned, located nearby, road blocks obviously up, news choppers barred from the area. His whereabouts still remain unknown.

He's accused of killing three people. We're going to bring you that news conference as soon as it happens. But he is, right now, accused of killing three people already and he vows to kill more. Listen.


COOPER (voice-over): The subject line reads "last resort." It's perhaps the only explanation we'll ever hear from the alleged shooter, Christopher Dorner. Over 11,000 words posted on his Facebook page earlier today addressed simply, "To America." It's pages and pages of threats, confessions, and rambling opinions. And it is chilling to read.

He writes, quote, "I know I'll be vilified by the LAPD and the media. Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil that I do not enjoy but must partake and complete for substantial change to occur within the LAPD and reclaim my name. The question is what would you do to clear your name?"

Dorner clearly wants vindication from the LAPD which terminated him in 2008 for making false statements to a superior officer.

"The attacks will stop when the department states the truth about my innocence publicly," he writes. "I will not accept any type of currency/goods in exchange for the attacks to stop, nor do I want it. I want my name back, period. There is no negotiation."

The alleged shooter details evidence he says shows he was telling the truth and he urges the media to investigate his case.

He writes, quote, "With the discovery and evidence available, you will see the truth. Unfortunately, I will not be alive to see my name cleared."

Dorner writes repeatedly about his own death. At one point, he writes, "Self preservation is no longer important to me. I do not fear death." He also writes, "I have nothing to lose. You cannot prevail against an enemy combatant who has no fear of death."

Dorner wants to make sure he's not branded a liar, but seems to have no concerns about being a killer. He promises, "The violence of action will be high." And he lists members of the LAPD by name in his manifesto, writing, "In essence, I've lost everything because the LAPD took my name and knew I was innocent. Your day has come."

Later, he writes, "You destroyed my life and name because of your actions. Time is up." Dorner doesn't stop there. He writes, "Suppressing the truth will lead to deadly consequences for you and your family. I never had an opportunity to have a family of my own. I'm terminating yours."

It seems he made good on that promise. Police say on Sunday, he shot and killed 27-year-old Monica Quan, the daughter of one of the officers named in the manifesto. Two others have also been shot so far, and the manifesto threatens that more will come.

"I know your route to and from home and your division," he writes. "I know your significant other's routine, your children's best friends, and recess. I assure you that the casualty rate will be high."

Dorner doesn't just stick to threats. The manifesto is also filled with bizarre ramblings in everything from newscasters to gun control to entertainment. He says he's a fan of the "Hangover" movies and even offers this opinion about Michelle Obama.

"Off the record, I love your new bangs, Mrs. Obama," he writes. "A woman whose professional and educational accomplishments are second to none when compared to recent first wives."

Throughout this manifesto posted on his Facebook page, Dorner's tone is unwavering. He's on a crusade, he feels, to purge the LAPD of corruption, and he tries to portray himself as a person of morals.

He writes, "I'm not an aspiring rapper, I'm not a gang member, I'm not a dope dealer. I'm a man who's lost complete faith in the system when the system betrayed, slandered, and libeled me. I lived a good life and though not a religious man, I always stuck to my own personal code of ethics. No one grows up and wants to be a cop killer," he writes. "It was against everything I've ever was. As a young police explorer I found my calling in life, but as a young police officer, I found that the violent suspects on the street are not the only people you have to watch."


COOPER: Again, we're waiting for a news conference at Big Bear where Chris Dorner's truck was found. We're going to bring it to you live when it happens.

First, we want to bring in former LAPD psychologist Kris Mohandie.

And Kris, if this press conference starts, I'm going to break into our interview.


COOPER: But what I found so interesting and puzzling is that -- I mean, big parts of this manifesto don't sound like they come from an insane person or someone capable of doing these horrible killings. He seems aware of the reality, the consequences of his action. He also seems to at times display empathy toward people that he cares about. What comes across to you in this?

MOHANDIE: Well, absolutely what you said. He's not insane. He doesn't have a serious mental illness like that. This is a man who feels like he is justified in doing whatever he needs to do to get his message out there. He's narcissistic. He's rationalizing his actions. He's been victimized and he's going to inflict that on other people that he believes are to blame. He's a classic vengeance- motivated predatory violence individual who is just basically a disgruntled former employee who unfortunately has military and law enforcement training. So he's justifying his actions.

He's homicidal and suicidal, but he's not crazy in the classic sense. He's got character flaws that make him think he's entitled and special enough that he gets to do these things, that he gets to take matters into his own hands.

COOPER: But you think not only is he homicidal but he's suicidal?

MOHANDIE: Absolutely. He's talking about being -- willing and planning to die as a consequence of all these things, so he is both, he is homicidal and suicidal and extremely dangerous.

COOPER: What do you make of the fact that -- I mean, the events he's pointing to, that him getting kicked off the LAPD, I mean this -- these events went back to 2008, 2009.


COOPER: Years ago. Why now? What sort of things would trigger this sort of reaction this long after the initial incident?

MOHANDIE: There's been appeals processes going on for a while that he makes reference to in terms of appeals with the courts that have been exhausted. I had heard he had left his job as recently as last Friday, another job he had I think with the Navy.

There's all these options and things that were exhausting themselves, and it's often typical for workplace violence suspects like him to act out when they do all their options for handling within the system, to become exhausted.

That's, where believe, what you're seeing here. So there's been a series of events and likely a recent triggering event that has basically kicked his whole plan he's been working on and fantasizing about for a long time into action.

COOPER: We're going to continue our conversation, Chris. I want to remind our viewers that the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department is about to hold a news conference in Big Bear, California, where the search is under way. This is where Chris Dorner's truck was found.

We'll bring that to you as soon as that comes up. We'll keep it on the screen as we continue to talk to Chris. At this point, for authorities to track down this guy is there any sense you can glean of how prepared or how thought out his actions mail may be? I talked about this with John Miller who thinks he spent a fair amount of time preparing his plan.

MOHANDIE: He's been fantasizing about this act of predatory proactive violence for a long time, and he's been making all kinds of preparations. The preparations haven't been perfect, but this is a man who indicates in his manifesto, in his message, that he thought a long time about it.

That he's going to use the skills he's learned in his different military experiences of law enforcement experiences against those in those organizations and law enforcement in particular. So I think he's got a lot more planned.

And we're going to see more from him, and what you have to be careful about is, you know, lots of misdirection, and I think that's part of what may be going on right now.

COOPER: We're going to be speaking later to some of the friends of this man, that he writes about, actually, in the manifesto, and he speaks highly of in the manifesto. It does sound like he genuinely cares about them.

Someone like that, someone he cares about as a family member or a friend, is it possible that person could somehow reach him in terms of if there was communication, talk him down, talk him out of continuing?

MOHANDIE: The hope is one of those people that he looks up to, that he respects, that they obviously don't want him to continue this. His message has gotten out there that they would tell him they have seen this.

COOPER: I have to jump in. Here's the press conference.

SHERIFF JOHN MCMAHON: -- there was a question earlier about whether or not we found any tracks around the vehicle. I can tell you we did find some tracks around the vehicle, but they did not lead to the suspect. We're continuing to work with our partners.

There are a number of folks here with us today, U.S. Forest Service, Big Bear Fire, U.S. Marshal, FBI, Cal Fire, Orange County sheriff, Riverside Police, Irvine Police, Pomona Police as well as the San Bernardino Police Department.

We're committed to continuing this operation. We still have a number of patrol cars providing extra service to the citizens of the Big Bear area, making sure that they stay as safe as possible. We'll continue the search, and I also have with me Assistant Chief Mike Moore from the Los Angeles Police Department.

MIKE MOORE, ASSISTANT CHIEF, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: Thank you, Sheriff. Good evening. This complex and violent investigation has led to this mountain. Joining Sheriff John McMahon and the men and women of the San Bernardino sheriff's department, am men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department, the Irvine Police Department, Riverside, and others.

We're committed to sharing everything bit of information, working in concert with them and apprehending this individual and adding whatever information we can to help these men and women up here find this individual. Thank you.

MCMAHON: Thank you, assistant chief. We have been in constant communication with our board of supervisors. They are committed to making sure we have the resources necessary to continue this investigation as long as we need to. Representing the third district of our county in this area specifically, Supervisor James Ramos.

SUPERVISOR JAMES RAMOS: Thank you, Sheriff. First of all, on behalf of San Bernardino County, our hearts and prayers go out to the victims that are out there especially law enforcement community. And we're here to make sure that Sheriff McMahon has the resources he needs to make sure that the job is done at hand and the task he has in front of him, resources wouldn't be something to stand in the way, so we're here to fully commit and make sure we stand in unison with Sheriff McMahon.

MCMAHON: Thank you, Supervisor. That's all we have at this point. If there are any questions, I'll take a couple before I have to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you say the tracks stopped and did not lead to the suspect, where did they lead to?

MCMAHON: What I said is we didn't find the suspect. We did find some tracks, but they did not lead to the suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My question is where did they lead?

MCMAHON: I'm not going to provide any additional information other than we did follow some tracks, but they have not led to the suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did they go to a residential area?

MCMAHON: No, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did those tracks begin at the vehicle?

MCMAHON: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How far did they lead you?

MCMAHON: I don't have that information at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, is this search going to continue all through the night or are you going to call it off with the storm coming in?

MCMAHON: We'll continue as long as we can, weather permitting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about tracking dogs?

MCMAHON: It doesn't affect the dogs. We do have dogs here with us tonight. The snow on the ground does give us a pretty good idea of where the tracks are going. And it doesn't affect the dogs, at least not at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Door to door and each and every single cabin and home in the area?

MCMAHON: We're continuing the door to door search in the immediate area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheriff, do you have any air resources that will be able to go overnight trying to find this guy?

MCMAHON: We have air resources. Depending on the weather, they will fly tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of resources do you have on the ground?

MCMAHON: There's about 125 law enforcement officers in this general area, both tracking as well as doing the door to door searches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheriff, are you concerned that the suspect may be baiting law enforcement into a confrontation?

MCMAHON: Certainly, there's always that concern and we're extremely careful and worried about this individual. We're taking every precaution we can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheriff, residents have expressed concern about all of the empty homes in the area. When you're going door to door and a home is empty, then what?

MCMAHON: If we have seen any signs of forced entry, we'll keep looking at it. If it looks secure, we probably won't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is leading the search right now?

MCMAHON: Out here, we have a command post set up and a number of people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is one agency taking the lead?

MCMAHON: San Bernardino County is the lead on this part of the investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you give them advice right now, people in this area?

MCMAHON: Sure, I talked to them earlier at the last press conference. The trick is to make sure if they see anything unusual, see anybody who looks suspicious, let us know. We have plenty of uniformed officers driving around the community to respond to their calls for service.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you advise people to stay off the street?

MCMAHON: Certainly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know if the suspect has any survivalist training?

MCMAHON: We don't know. We're assuming he's still in the area because we're continuing to look. Until we find other information, we'll continue our search.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the dogs get his scent, able to track him at all?

MCMAHON: I'm not going to talk about any portion of that. It's part of the investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheriff, did you recover anything in the truck in the way of equipment, weapons, packs, food, anything?

MCMAHON: I'm not going to talk about what the investigation has led to in the vehicle itself. We'll announce that later. I will tell you that we'll process the vehicle tonight at our crime lab in San Bernardino. Members of the Los Angeles Police Department, The Irvine Police Department, and Riverside Police Department will be participating in that evaluation along with our folks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any tips, any sightings, anything?

MCMAHON: Certainly there are been tips coming from all over the state throughout the day. No specific tips that we're aware of in this area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can Chief Moore speak to us really quick, police? Chief, have you seen anything like this in your career ever, something of this magnitude?

MOORE: I would really not like to get into the magnitude of this. This is certainly a very violent and tragic event. I would like to stay focused on the safety for the community and the description of our effort.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your department doing up here? Do you have resources up here?

MOORE: We have resources up here. We'll continue to support the San Bernardino's sheriff's department and the apprehension of the suspect, as is Irvine and Riverside. This is a whole law enforcement community effort. It has been since the start, and it will continue until its culmination with the arrest and capture of this suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Chief.

COOPER: You just heard from the officer from the LAPD and mostly from John McMahon, a San Bernardino Sheriff. We're joined by former LAPD psychologist, Kris Mohandie. Just a final thought. One of the most significant things that was revealed there besides the fact that the tracks, there were fresh tracks around the truck, but they did not lead to the suspect. The sheriff also pointing out they do have air assets in place with infrared capabilities, which might be valuable at night, although there's a storm coming in. They also have dogs who they say are not affected by the snow, at least at this point. At this point, what do you think people need to know?

MOHANDIE: I think people need to know that this man is armed, extremely dangerous. Hopefully, he'll turn himself in and realize that there are people that he respects that want him to do so, and safety is paramount. You know, they're looking up there.

He's resourceful enough to potentially hunker down up there and survive for a while. But he's also resourceful enough to be elsewhere, and they need to know that the professional men and women of various involved departments are going to be working very hard to resolve this and keep everyone safe.

COOPER: Clearly, this is a man who has reached out to me here at CNN. He's reached out to other news groups as well, and he has this manifesto. He clearly wants to get his message across.

If by any chance he is listening to a television tonight or this broadcast tonight, I assume you would suggest to him that the best way to get his message across is to give himself up, and that will afford him the opportunity to at least, you know, argue his case.

MOHANDIE: That is correct. The best solution is to turn himself in. He'll have plenty of chances to tell his story. You know, hurting people is not going to help his cause anymore. People, here, he has a message to tell. It's time to turn himself in.

COOPER: Chris, I appreciate your expertise tonight. Any armed gunman on the loose would be a threat. Christopher Dorner is a trained sniper in addition to all of the other stuff. Police say he is seeking vengeance for a long list of grievances as we just talked about.

Just ahead, the latest that we've learned about what kind of marksman he really is, and how good is he and what other weapons training he might have?

Also, more on the monster blizzard bearing down on the northeast, and the big storm in the barrier causing problems for the law enforcement searching for this man, but it's already causing problems in the northeast. What you need to know ahead.


COOPER: Christopher Dorner, the target of this massive manhunt tonight has made his intentions clear. Police say he's vowed to hunt down and kill cops he once worked with and to target their families as well,

In a rumbling manifesto that he allegedly wrote, he brags about his shooting skills. Here's what he says, "Hopefully, you analysts have done your homework. You're aware that I have always been the top shot, highest scorer and expert in rifle qualifications in every unit I've been in. I will utilize every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordinance and survival training I've been given."

It's certainly chilling words. As we said, Dorner, a former cop who served in the U.S. Navy reserve is a trained sniper. It's what makes this manhunt both urgent and particularly dangerous.

Chris Lawrence joins me now. Chris, in this manifesto, he says he's always been the top shot, as I just read. Do his military records back that up?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Military wise, Anderson, he is good, but he is exaggerating a little bit. The U.S. Navy has three levels of proficiency above the baseline. Those are marksmen, sharp shooter and then expert, at the highest level.

He qualified as a marksman with the rifle, but he did qualify as an expert, the highest level with the 9-mm pistol. He also received some training on weak side shooting. Even some very good shooters have a hard time going from the right hand to the left hand.

He would have been trained in shooting from weak side and where that come into play is if you're shooting from a concealed position, if you can shoot from your weak side, you might not have to expose as much of your body. You'd be a smaller target and still be --

COOPER: I mean, this guy also promises to use specific warfare tactics and survival training. He was never in special ops. Would they obviously have more specific training in this kind of thing?

LAWRENCE: No, no special operations training. But he did serve in a Riverine unit, sort of the old brown water navy, doing a lot of security operations, securing oil platforms, so he has more prior firearms and combat arms training than say a typical sailor serving on board an aircraft carrier.

COOPER: All right, Chris, appreciate the update. Thanks.

I want to bring in someone who is mentioned in that manifesto, James Usera, a friend of Christopher Dorner's. They were classmates in Southern Utah University. James, thanks very much for being with us.

I can't imagine what this is like for you. It must be just bizarre to say the least, and very upsetting. You were mentioned in the manifesto. I want to read some of what Dorner had to say about you.

He said, quote, "Thanks for introducing me to outdoor sports like fishing, hunting, mudding and also respect for the land and resources. You even introduced me to PBR, a beer, that when you're a poor college student, is completely acceptable to get buzzed off of. I'm sorry I'll never get to go on that moose and bear hunt with you. I love you, bro." What goes through your mind when you hear that?

JAMES USERA, FRIEND AND FORMER CLASSMATE OF CHRISTOPHER DONER: My initial reaction is it's not entirely accurate. I don't like to think of myself as a beer guzzling politically incorrect person, but you know, in spite of that, when I first read it, I have to confess I was somewhat flattered and I obviously made an effect on this person's life, and it seems that I'm a person whom he respects.

But you know, going deeper and putting it in context of this manifesto when I have not read, but I heard snippets of it, is shocking to say the least. I mean, you know, who wants to be lumped in to this kind of a fiasco, frankly, it really is beyond shocking.

COOPER: I know he called you out of the blue about four years ago just to catch up, which was around the time, I guess, that he was let go from the LAPD. What did he seem like? How did he seem then?

USERA: He seemed to the same person I knew in college. You know, he did mention to me when we were speaking at that point in time, again, about four years ago, he mentioned he had some type of grievance that was ongoing with the Los Angeles Police Department.

I don't have any recollection of details, and quite frankly, I don't remember speaking about it at great length, but he did mention to me that there were issues he was dealing with.

In any event, he didn't seem to be particularly aggravated about it. He certainly didn't express any indication that he had violent tendencies or was out for retribution or anything of that nature. So needless to say that the events of the past couple days come as a very big shock to me.

COOPER: We have no idea where he is. He did reach out to me here at CNN and to other news organizations trying to get his message across. In case he is watching, what would your message to him be tonight?

USERA: Turn yourself in. No good is coming of this. You know, you are not going to clear your name by killing people nor by hurting people or by going on the run. It's absolutely no good can come out of this. Turn yourself in and put an end to it.

COOPER: Well, James, I appreciate you being with us. Again, a horrible occurrence for everybody, but for someone who knows him and knows him as a different person, it has to be very shocking. Appreciate you being with us, James. Thank you.

USERA: My pleasure.

COOPER: The other story we're following tonight, the north east bracing for storm that could end up in the record books. Preparations are underway for several feet of snow in some areas. Got the latest on the storm's path ahead. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Keeping a close eye on what could be a record breaking storm affecting millions of people across the north east. Two massive weather systems are on track to converge overnight. Blizzard warnings are now in effect for cities including New York, Boston, Hartford, and Providence.

And by the time it's over, some areas could be digging up from several feet of snow. The travel nightmare from the storm could soon be felt across the country as flight cancellations pile up creating obviously a ripple effect at airports from coast to coast.

Amtrak is suspending service from New York City up into New England. Some salt trucks are already hitting the roads, getting a head start obviously before the storm hits. We're joined again by our meteorologist, Chad Myers. So when can we expect the storms to meet and what kind of impact are we talking about?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's looks like 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning is when the first snowflakes will start to fall and even for New York City, for a while, those snowflakes will mix with rain, maybe lowering the amount of actual total snow accumulation.

Here's the one storm, Anderson, down to the south. It's raining here in Georgia. Here's the storm up in Wisconsin. It's snowing here. They will meet. A little bit like what Sandy did. With the cold here and the warm air here, and they will come together as a coastal lobe.

It's called a coastal bomb because literally it bombs off the coast. Winds will be hurricane strength along the coast of Massachusetts and Maine. We'll see coastal flooding and those hurricane force winds will cause blizzard warnings everywhere you see in the red and orange. That's a blizzard warning.

Twenty three million people right now under a blizzard warning. This is the best case scenario computer model I can find, 7.5 inches for New York City, 12.8 for Boston. This is a model that does not believe the two storms will combine. And now I'll show you one, a model that does believe the two storms will combine.

We'll pile those numbers up into Boston over 30, New York City at 14. That's a pretty good number. I believe that's probably right on the money. The big story here is we're going to have winds of 50 and 60. You may never see that snow. It maybe just drifts 8, 10 feet high.

COOPER: Winds at 50 or 60, that's unusual for a nor'easter like this, isn't it?

MYERS: It certainly is. This is a big storm. This has a pressure that was almost what Sandy was as it made landfall. This is really a windy event, yes.

COOPER: Your biggest concern right now is what?

MYERS: Cars getting stranded on the road way. A couple inches of snow, you think you're going to make it home, but you run into an accident in front of you. Your car has to sit there for a couple hours until they clear that wreck. By the time that happens, you're in 8 inches of snow and you're not going to move. You're going to be stuck. Thousands of people stuck on the interstates. That's my biggest fear.

COOPER: A lot of folks stuck in the airports tonight. Chad, thanks very much. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Special programming note to tell you about. Coming up tonight at 10:00, one of the deadliest attacks on U.S. troops in the Afghan war when the Taliban launched an assault at a combat outpost Keating. They did it with overwhelming force.

The battle lasted 12 hours, the losses were devastating, but those who survived said it would have been far worse if Staff Sergeant Clint Romesha had not put his own life in risk to fight back. For that President Obama is going to award him the Medal of Honor next week.

Jake Tapper sat down with him for the CNN special "An American Hero, the Uncommon Valor of Clint Romesha." This is the story ahead.


CLINTON ROMESHA, FORMER STAFF SERGEANT, U.S. ARMY: There is movement everywhere, muzzle flashes everywhere. You just couldn't pick them out fast enough.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): October 2009, up to 400 Taliban fighters unleash a torrent of withering fire upon a remote U.S. outpost in Eastern Afghanistan. Combat outpost Keating sat at the bottom of a valley that was both beautiful and deadly. It was one of the most vulnerable U.S. bases in Afghanistan.

ROMESHA: When you look at the manual and look in to find the definition of finding a defensible spot, this is the total opposite of it.

TAPPER: The attack so fierce in the end more than half of the 53 U.S. troops at the outpost were killed or wounded, but as buildings burned and the enemy ran freely through the outpost, soldiers became heroes one in particular.

ROMESHA: I know that there are so many great soldiers out there that would have stepped in to my shoes and done the same thing.


COOPER: "Real American Hero," you can catch Jake Tapper's report tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Thanks very much for watching. We'll see you again. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.