BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. — Scores of officers fanned out at daybreak Saturday in the snow-covered San Bernardino Mountains, resuming their search for a former Los Angeles police officer suspected of killing three people in a vengeance-fueled rampage aimed at those he blames for ending his career.
Authorities were hopeful that clearer skies would allow aircraft to help them find Christopher Dorner. Relentless snowfall Friday grounded helicopters with heat-sensing technology and hampered efforts to find the fugitive, whose burned-out pickup truck was found a day earlier in this ski resort town.
SWAT teams in camouflage scoured the mountains Friday and went door-to-door examining vacant cabins, aware to the reality they could be walking into a trap set by the well-trained former Navy reservist who knows their tactics and strategies as well as they do.
"He can be behind every tree," said T. Gregory Hall, a retired tactical supervisor for a special emergency response team for the Pennsylvania State Police. "He can try to draw them into an ambush area where he backtracks."
As authorities weathered heavy snow and freezing temperatures in the mountains, thousands of heavily armed police remained on the lookout throughout California, Nevada, Arizona and northern Mexico for a suspect bent on revenge and willing to die.
Police said officers still were guarding more than 40 people mentioned as targets in a rant they said Dorner posted on Facebook. He vowed to use "every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordnance and survival training I've been given" to bring "warfare" to the LAPD and its families.
The manhunt had Southern California residents on edge. Unconfirmed sightings were reported near Barstow, about 60 miles north of the mountain search, and in downtown Los Angeles.
Some law enforcement officials said he appeared to be everywhere and nowhere, and speculated that he was trying to spread out their resources.