LOS ANGELES — The training officer whose dispute with former Los Angeles police Officer Christopher Dorner led to his firing said Thursday that it was her hunch that led police to name him as the suspect in the killing of an Orange County couple, setting off an intense and deadly manhunt that ended with Dorner’s suicide in a mountain cabin.
“In my mind, it felt like such a long shot,” said Teresa Evans. Dorner, her partner and trainee, had accused her of police brutality in 2008, leading to his dismissal for making false statements in 2009. “But my gut feeling made it a lot stronger than that. I just knew. Something told me that there was some kind of a connection.”
On. Feb. 4, when few knew Dorner’s name, police in National City near San Diego called Evans, saying they had found some of his belongings including ammunition, pieces of a police uniform and a notebook with her name in it.
“Just hearing his name was enough to make me feel sick,” Evans said in an interview the Los Angeles Times.
The same day she learned that Monica Quan, daughter of former LAPD Captain Randal Quan, and her fianci had been shot to death, their bodies found in a car at an Irvine parking garage.
Evans recalled that Randal Quan had represented Dorner in disciplinary hearings at the time of his firing.
She said she couldn’t shake a “nagging, sinking feeling,” wondering if Dorner could have killed Monica Quan in some kind of vendetta against her father.
“I have to call Irvine PD,” she remembered thinking.
Irvine police quickly learned how valuable the tip was, discovering an online manifesto written by Dorner that outlined his motives and intentions and named several targets within the LAPD.
By Feb. 6, three days after the shooting, Irvine police held a news conference naming Dorner as their suspect. The next morning, authorities said, Dorner was opening fire on police officers, and for the six days that followed he would be the subject of one of the biggest manhunts in California history.
By the time he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a flaming mountain cabin after a final violent standoff with law enforcement officers he had killed four people, including a San Bernardino County sheriff’s detective and a Riverside police officer.
LAPD officials confirmed Evans’ account for the Times, and police Chief Charlie Beck said her actions saved lives.
Despite her strong suspicions, Evans was stunned when she learned her hunch had been correct.
“I was absolutely sick,” Evans said. “I thought, ‘What am I going to do?’ At the time Mr. Dorner was terminated, I had a very uneasy feeling. I knew he was very upset and I had concerns that at some point he may try to contact me. So, this was just validating the bad feeling I carried with me for years. I was scared to death.”
As soon as the manifesto was discovered Evans and her family were put under guard by a police detail, and remained that way until after Dorner’s death.
She said that despite more than a week passing she has yet to return to her home, she has continued to receive threats, and the fear has yet to subside.
“I honestly don’t think my life will ever be normal the way it was before,” Evans said. “This was such an extraordinary circumstance, I don’t know if I’m ever going to feel safe in my home again.”