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L.A. Police Officers Shoot Up Wrong Trucks During Dorner Manhunt

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By Jeff Wilber on February 11, 2013


“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Wayne LaPierre famously told us after Newtown. But what stops a good guy with a gun from indiscriminately opening fire on good guys without guns?

During the frantic manhunt for suspected killer Christopher Dorner, LAPD and Torrance PD officers guarding one of Dorner’s manifesto targets opened fire on two pickup trucks that looked like Dorner’s Nissan Titan.

When the smoke cleared, it turned out these high-strung officers shot at two women delivering newspapers and a dude going surfing.

AP photo

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According to the L.A. Times, there’s an explanation for this:

Two women in a blue pickup, who were delivering copies of the Los Angeles Times, came under fire by Los Angeles Police Department officers on Thursday morning in what Police Chief Charlie Beck has described as a case of “mistaken identity.”

Moments later, Torrance Police Department officers responding to the gunfire slammed their cruiser into a black truck being driven by David Perdue and opened fire. Perdue’s attorney described the shooting as “unbridled police lawlessness” in an interview with The Times on Saturday.

“Unbridled police lawlessness” seems more accurate than “mistaken identity.”

The women, Margie Carranza, 47, and her mother, Emma Hernandez, 71, were delivering newspapers in the L.A. suburb early February 7 when officers opened fire on their blue Toyota Tacoma. At the time, police believed that Dorner was driving a gray Nissan Titan, which apparently led to the mistaken identity on which Beck blamed the accident. In this mistake, Hernandez was shot twice in the back and Carranza was injured from broken glass.

Blue and gray can be awfully confusing, especially when its the paint color on something the size of a truck.

Perdue’s case seems just as dumb. A Torrance Police cruiser slammed into his truck, and then officers unloaded. Though he was not wounded by the shots fired — lucky for Perdue, embarrassing for the officers — his attorney says that Perdue sustained a concussion and a shoulder injury from the crash, which prevents him from working his baggage handler job at LAX.

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These are photos of Dorner and Perdue, two men who do not look anything alike. And if the official defense is that the airbag had deployed and the officers’ vision was obscured, is that not ample justification for holding fire?

Christopher Dorner perdue dorner
Dorner via AP; Perdue via Genaro Molina, LA Times

In addition to the anticipated lawsuits that could stem from this, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck met with Carranza and Hernandez at their home to tell them that their truck would be replaced by the LAPD using donor funds. In a similar move, the Torrance police chief offered Perdue a rental car and payment of his medical bills as an apology for the misunderstanding.

As of now there appear to be no suspensions. Business as usual.

After all of this trouble, Dorner remains missing and, with an understandable amount of stress in the area, it seems certain officers are taking it upon themselves to shoot first and ask questions later.

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