BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. — Law enforcement officers working in falling snow searched a Southern California mountain Friday for the former Los Angeles police officer accused of carrying out a killing spree because he felt he was unfairly fired from his job.
We're going to continue searching until either we discover that he left the mountain or we find him, one of the two, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said at a midmorning news conference.
More than 100 officers from various agencies were searching for Christopher Dorner in the Big Bear Lake region of the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles.
SWAT teams were driven up snowbound roads on Snowcat tractors and armored personnel carriers equipped with snow chains, he said, but helicopters with heat-sensing technology were grounded because of the storm.
Visibility was low as clouds shrouded Big Bear's towering, forested peaks.
A search of dozens of homes in the Big Bear community failed to find Dorner and the search was concentrating farther back in the mountains, near and above the place where his burnt-out pickup truck was found on Thursday, the sheriff said.
Officers followed what appeared to be Dorner's tracks from the truck but lost them on the frozen ground, McMahon said.
There's a lot of cabins up there that are abandoned, he said. We want to make sure that he didn't find a place to hide out for the night.
A couple of reported sightings of Dorner didn't pan out and we have no information that he's come down into the community at all, McMahon said.
The search will go on through the weekend unless there's evidence that Dorner has left the area, he said.
Big Bear Lake Mayor Jay Obernolte said there's been no panic in the community.
We are very hardy residents here in the San Bernardino mountains, he said. Many of the people here are armed. My fear has actually been not that panic would ensue but more that someone up here would see something and take the law into their own hands.
The mayor said the decision to open the area's ski resorts followed assurances that the suspect does not pose a substantial threat. The sheriff said the areas near the slopes had been searched by SWAT officers.