APU staff affected by Dorner case

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Officers from Los Angeles County mourn the tragic loss of Officer Michael Crain.

Courtesy: William Havrilo

Early Thursday, Feb. 7, ex-LAPD officer and former Navy veteran Christopher Dorner ambushed Officer Michael Crain and Officer Andrew Tachias’s patrol car. Dorner opened fire on the police officers and was chased by a LAPD officer into the city of Corona. Crain and Tachias were both wounded. Crain died from the shooting while Tachias was severely wounded.

Two officers in APU’s Department of Campus Safety transferred from the Riverside Police Department. Deputy Chief Terry Meyer and Lieutenant Jeff Joseph knew Crain personally and worked with him during their employment at the Riverside PD.

“This was a tragedy and a senseless act of violence. The officers were just doing their job, and he just opened fire on them,” Meyer said. “It deeply hits home because it affects our family. A police department is like a family, and it just hits you deep in the heart. It’s like a family member has been taken away.”

Joseph also expressed his sentiments about Crain’s murder and death.

“I’m sad that you have a man who served two years in Kuwait [Crain] who is just ambushed and then killed,” Joseph said.

Meyer explained that all the officers who knew Crain, including himself and Joseph, will go through the grieving process typical of losing a loved one.

“We go through the grieving process, all the grieving stages. You know, denial, sadness and anger, ” Meyer said. “The grieving process is going to last even after the memorial service. But you’re always going to remember.”

Joseph explained that even though the case may be solved and Dorner may be caught, it does not mean that they will forget what happened to Crain.

“Even as the [court] appeal process continues the wound gets reopened,” Joseph said. “As they go through a different court and then a different court the media covers it and every time it’s like the wound is getting opened again. It’s always going to be there.”

Some of the staff and others in the APU community who knew Meyer and Joseph worked with Crain or at least knew they worked in the Riverside Police Department have reached out to Meyer and Joseph to express their condolences.

“Several members of the APU community have sent us text and emails supporting us. We are grateful and appreciative,” Meyer said.

After posting his manifesto against several LAPD officers and their families on Facebook in early February, Dorner went on a rampage killing Monica Quan, whose father was the LAPD police union representative when Dorner was fired, and her fiancé, Keith Lawrence, on Sunday, Feb. 3. Dorner ambushed Crain and Tachias while they were stopped at a stop light in Riverside. After being chased into nearby Corona by an LAPD officer, Dorner was announced a fugitive and a statewide search was issued for him.

Later, the statewide search was extended into Mexico and Nevada. Dorner’s truck was then found burning in the San Bernardino mountains near Big Bear on Thursday, Feb. 7. The LAPD, partnered with several other departments including the Riverside Police Department, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and even the California Department of Fish and Game searched the mountain terrain near Big Bear for Dorner.

On Tuesday, Feb. 12, Dorner attacked and bonded a couple in Big Bear when they found him in their home. Dorner then used their vehicle to drive on highway 38 where he was spotted by wardens from the California Department of Fish and Game. The wardens fired on him and engaged in a shootout with the fugitive in which two wardens were shot, one wounded and the other died.

Dorner fled to a cabin near Big Bear where he barricaded himself and engaged in another standoff with SWAT deputies. After SWAT deputies threw flammable tear gas into the cabin, the cabin caught fire. A single shot was heard and then the teams waited for the building to cool off before approaching and investigating.

On Friday, Feb. 15, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department announced that Dorner died of one shot to the head. They also announced that the wound appears to be self-inflicted although no conclusive evidence can be given at this time.

“It affects you. You go home and you hold your wife and kids. You hold them a little tighter and a little closer,” Meyer said.