- Associated Press - Monday, February 11, 2013

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A fugitive ex-Los Angeles police officer was charged Monday with murdering a Riverside police officer and special circumstances that could bring the death penalty.

Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach said Christopher Dorner was also charged with the attempted murder of another Riverside officer and two Los Angeles Police Department officers.

The LAPD officers and the Riverside officers were fired on in two separate shootings early Thursday after Dorner became the target of a manhunt suspected of killing a former LAPD captain’s daughter and her fiance the previous weekend.

“By both his words and conduct, he has made very clear to us that every law enforcement officer in Southern California is in danger of being shot and killed,” Zellerbach said.

Southern California authorities were investigating hundreds of tips Monday after offering a $1 million reward for information leading to Dorner’s arrest.

The manhunt for Dorner, 33, coupled with added security at Sunday’s Grammy Awards, left the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department stretched thin.

Along with responding to routine calls for service, police have been protecting dozens of families considered possible targets of Dorner, based on his alleged Facebook rant against those he held responsible for ending his career with the LAPD five years ago.

“Our dedication to catch this killer remains steadfast,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. “We will not tolerate this reign of terror.”

Police and city officials believe the $1 million reward, raised from both public and private sources, will encourage the public to stay vigilant.

“This is not about catching a fugitive suspect, it’s about preventing a future crime, most likely a murder,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. “This is an act, make no mistake about it, of domestic terrorism.”

Beck deflected questions about whether the reward would be paid if Dorner was found dead or alive. He called the phrase “ugly” and said he hoped no one else was injured in the ordeal, including the suspect.

As the search dragged on, worrisome questions emerged: How long could the intense search be sustained? And, if Dorner keeps evading capture, how do authorities protect dozens of former police colleagues?

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the department has deployed 50 protection details to guard officers and their families who were deemed possible targets.

And there are no plans to reduce protection until Dorner is in custody, Los Angeles police Sgt. Rudy Lopez said.

“We realize it costs money and it gets expensive,” said Chuck Drago, a Florida-based police consultant. “But this is as clear of a threat as you can get. The money is always an issue but not when it’s somebody’s life at stake.”

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