LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Christopher Dorner’s training as a police officer, knowledge of weapons and counter terrorism will make it harder for officials to capture him, according to a CBS News expert on national security.
Retired Colonel Jeff McCausland — who teaches military tactics at the US Army War College in Pennsylvania — spoke to CBS2 and KCAL9 political reporter Dave Bryan.
Dorner, the former LAPD officer accused of murdering three people — an engaged couple in Irvine and a cop in Riverside — spent more than a decade in the Navy. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant. Dorner helped secure ships as the entered the port of Bahrain.
McCausland believes Dorner’s knowledge of military security and counter terrorism may be a big reason he has eluded capture to this point — despite being the target of one of the most massive manhunts in California history.
Dorner vowed to bring unconventional warfare to law enforcement agents — and their families.
McCausland says, “Dorner is really a terrorist. And the first role of a terrorist is to execute his mission with unconventional, asymmetric tactics. And as terrorists go, he’s doing a pretty good job of that right now.”
McCausland also believes Dorner is adept at knowing his enemy. “He’s analyzing their weaknesses. And then he plans to strike them, asymmetrically, in the places where they least expect you to do that.”
Case in point, reports Bryan, when Dorner’s wallet and an LAPD badge were found at Lindbergh Airport in San Diego police focused their attention on that area. But it appears Dorner was already off and running to Riverside and Corona where he allegedly shot several officers, murdering one.
And when the seach for Dorner left San Diego and headed to the Inland Empire, his burned-out pickup truck was discovered by authorities in the wooded mountains of Big Bear. McCausland theorizes he burned the car to a crisp as a diversion. “He knew the vehicle had been identified. Destroy it. But then I’m going to go somewhere far from there. Tie-up a large portion of my enemy forces looking for me in a place where I am not.”
Bryan showed video of Dorner (obtained by CNN) of the former officer firing a gun at the LAPD range when he was training. By all accounts, Dorner knows his way around guns, as the man who shot the video told CNN. “If you look at Chris, you can see he’s a little bit of an expert … the way he watches and disarms. He stood out. He knew what he was doing.”
McCausland believes Dorner is long gone from the Big Bear area. But if he’s hiding out in the snow-covered mountains, Dorner has received training that may help him survive in that harsh environment as well: “The Center For Security Forces, where he took a course, one of the things they teach is survival skills … how to survive, escape and evasion type of stuff.”
McCausland also believes Dorner might not be the sharpshooter he claims to be. His rifle rating of marksman, he says, is actually the lowest qualified ranking.
And the military expert adds, there is nothing to indicate Dorner reached advanced levels with specialized weapons or tactics, like that of Navy Seals.