LOS ANGELES — On the day Christopher Dorner was fired from the Los Angeles Police Department, officials took the unusual step of summoning armed guards to stand watch at his disciplinary hearing downtown.
Those present were nervous that Dorner might do something rash when he learned that he was being stripped of his badge. He was a hulking, muscled man and his body language left no doubt about the anger seething out of him.
“It was clear … that he was wound way too tight,” said a police official who attended Dorner’s termination hearing and requested anonymity because of safety concerns.
That day four years ago, authorities now allege, was the start of a free fall into despair and deadly violence for Dorner. Police say the 33-year-old ex-cop killed three people and injured others on a campaign to exact revenge against those he blamed for his downfall.
Friends and acquaintances who knew Dorner before he became a police officer struggled to reconcile the person they remembered with the image of the deeply disturbed man that emerged Thursday from a rambling manifesto that authorities said was published on what they believe is Dorner’s Facebook page. The manifesto portrays Dorner as having no choice but to kill in order to reclaim his destroyed reputation.
“I am a man who has lost complete faith in the system, when the system betrayed, slandered and libeled me,” the manifesto states.
Born in New York state, Dorner grew up in Southern California with his mother and at least one sister, according to public records and claims in the manifesto.
Dorner felt isolated growing up as one of the few African-American children in the neighborhoods where he lived and was the victim of racism, according to the manifesto. “My first recollection of racism was in the first grade,” Dorner allegedly wrote, recalling a fellow student at Norwalk Christian School in Southern California who called him a racial slur. Dorner said he responded “fast and hard,” punching and kicking the student.