The Disturbing Story Of The Third Innocent Person Police Attacked In Christopher Dorner Manhunt
The story of a man who was attacked by police after being mistaken for renegade ex-LAPD cop Christopher Dorner has—until now—gotten buried in the already awful story about the LAPD opening fire on a 71-year-old newspaper delivery woman and her 47-year-old daughter.
Unfortunately, the circumstances of the shootings on Thursday morning and the severity of the third victim's injuries appear to have been initially downplayed in police and news reports. The story that ran in the Los Angeles Times the next day made no mention of the second shooting. Yesterday's follow-up piece from The Daily Breeze on how the neighborhood was reeling from the first shooting made no reference to the second shooting that happened blocks away.
But last night the Los Angeles Times posted an entire story focusing on what happened to the third victim David Perdue.
Perdue was on his way to catch some waves on Thursday morning before he went to work, when police pulled him over to ask him a few questions about who he was and where he was headed. (It's not clear from the story whether these were LAPD officers or officers from the Torrance Police Department). They let him go, and then "seconds later" a Torrance police cruiser rammed into his truck and opened fired on him.
A press release said only that he no "visible injuries." Perdue was fortunate that none of the bullets hit him, but that description seems to minimize the seriousness of what happened. Perdue told the Times that he had a concussion, his shoulder was badly injured and his truck was totaled.
As with the shooting of the newspaper deliverywoman Emma Hernandez and her daughter Margie Carranza, police said that it appeared that Perdue's truck matched the description of Dorner's. But Perdue's truck was a different make and color. And the Times notes Perdue is a white guy who looks about a hundred pounds lighter than Dorner.
It sounds like the two shootings were part of the same incident, although for whatever reason neither the Los Angeles Times nor the Torrance Police Department's press release explicitly connect them or explore the implications of that connection. We've called the LAPD and called and e-mailed the Torrance Police Department for a comment, and we'll update this post if we hear from them.
In the press release about the incident involving Perdue, the Torrance Police Department writes that "uniformed officers of the Torrance Police Department heard shots fired coming from the area of Sunnyglen Park in the City of Torrance, in proximity to where members of the Los Angeles Police Department was providing protective services related to the regional law enforcement effort to capture murder suspect Christopher Dorner."
Initial reports said that the Perdue shooting happened at Flagler Lane and Beryl Street, which is just around the corner from the 19500 block of Redbeam where the Hernandez was shot, according to Google Maps:
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There were wildly different reports about the timing of the two shootings—including some reports that said they happened a half-hour apart—but all of seem to be in the same ballpark. In its most recent report, the Los Angeles Times reports the Hernandez shooting happened sometime "around 5 am," and the Torrance PD report says Perdue was shot at around 5:15 am.
Based on these news and police reports, it seems very likely that the two shootings were connected. If it is true, it means that Torrance officers opened fire on an innocent man because they were rattled by the sounds of LAPD opening fire on two innocent women. And that raises even more questions about the way that police are handling their search for Dorner.
UPDATE 3 pm: This morning's Times blog post on last night's article does make the connection between the two shootings that the original story doesn't:
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.
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