LA police shoot paper carriers during Southern California manhunt

Los Angeles Police Department officers guarding the home of an LAPD captain from an ex-officer vowing revenge shot and wounded two women while they were delivering the Los Angeles Times last Thursday morning.

Photographs of the paper carriers’ pickup truck show multiple bullet holes entering from the rear, indicating that the still unidentified officers fired as the women were driving away. They were covering their regular delivery route in a housing tract located within the South Bay community of Torrance.

Emma Hernandez, 71, was in the rear seat handing the papers forward to her daughter, Margie Carranza, 47, who was driving and tossing the papers onto driveways. The women were following the common newspaper delivery practice of turning off their headlights to avoid disturbing residents who may still be sleeping.

Hernandez was hospitalized with two bullets in the back, but is expected to survive. Carranza was cut either by bullet or glass fragments. LAPD bullets pierced nearby cars, roofs and homes. Fortunately, no one else was hit. The LAPD has not announced the number of rounds fired, but estimates by neighbors range from 20 to 60.

Minutes later, a Torrance police cruiser responding to the LAPD shooting deliberately rammed a second pickup truck, after which the officers fired several rounds through the front window. Miraculously, the driver, who has not yet been identified, was able to duck and avoid injury.

Triggering this police mayhem is former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner, who identified himself earlier in the week as the perpetrator of the February 3 double murder of a couple in Irvine, California, about 40 miles south of Los Angeles.

On February 4, Dorner, 33, posted a “manifesto” on the Internet in which he appears to take responsibility for the killing of Keith Lawrence and Lawrence’s fiancée, Monica Quan, whose father, Randy Quan, represented Dorner at the Board of Rights hearing leading to his 2009 termination from the LAPD.

Dorner’s lengthy and rambling document complains that the LAPD tolerated a culture of violence and racism, and then terminated him for reporting that another officer beat a mentally disabled person.

Dorner, who recently spent a year in Iraq as a Navy reservist, listed several LAPD officials he holds responsible and pledged to wage “unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty.”

Dorner is believed to be responsible for the shooting of two Riverside, California police officers, one of whom died, while they were stopped at a traffic light in Corona, which is located about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, shortly after 1:00 am on February 7.

The Torrance LAPD shootings of the newspaper carriers happened about four hours later.

Dorner is a 270-pound black man. He was reported to be driving a dark blue Nissan Titan. The two shooting victims were female and Latina, driving a light-blue Toyota Tacoma. The pickup rammed and shot at by the Torrance officers was a black Honda.

Glen T. Jonas, an attorney for the LAPD’s victims, said that the LAPD officers failed to warn before firing at the two newspaper carriers. “It’s obvious that police wanted to execute this guy,” Jonas said.

LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck, however, wrote off the incident as “a case of mistaken identity by the officers.”

Ignoring the fact that the officers had no legal justification to fire from behind at a vehicle slowly driving away—not to mention shooting in the direction of homes and people—Beck sought to blame the victims because the pickup’s lights were out.