Boston Marathon: Desert Hot Springs runner was one block away

Local runner Eduardo Herrada crossed the finish line 30 to 45 minutes before the Boston marathon bombing on Monday.

He was a block away waiting for a friend, who had been ahead of him, to grab his things.

“That moment, I was on my phone talking to my mom, and then there was an explosion,” Herrada told The Desert Sun. “I thought it was fireworks. Two minutes later people started running by; people started panicking.”

Eventually passersby told Herrada what had happened: Two bombs had exploded, killing at least three people and injuring dozens more.

Herrada knew his friend was safe, so he decided to wait for him.

“I saw a woman who was very scared, and she was looking for help. I offered my phone to help her,” Herrada said. “She started giving me the phone number, but she was so scared she never gave me the right name. Then she ran away.”

Herrada’s phone eventually died, but he found his friend two hours later. He was able to let friends and family know he was OK on Facebook before he lost power.

He made it back from the Boston marathon Tuesday morning around 9 am. He said it wasn’t hard getting out of Boston, but he realized TSA had upped their security measures for his return trip.

“They were asking more security questions,” Herrada said. “I had a padlock on my luggage, and they broke it.”

Now that Herrada is home he keeps up with events in Boston. He read Thursday they identified the two suspects and hopes they’re brought to justice.

Despite recent events, Herrada would love to run in the Boston Marathon again. “I like the city. I like the people; people are very friendly there,” he said. “If I had the opportunity, I’d definitely come back.”

Herrada encourages those watching the news to put themselves in the shoes of those who lost family and friends and explore ways they can help.

Supreme Court: Drug-sniffing police dogs unconstitutional without warrant

Drug sniffing dogsWhile most of the nation focuses on The Supreme Court’s hearings on gay marriage, the high court made a different interesting ruling Tuesday:

Police cannot bring drug-sniffing police dogs onto a suspect’s property to look for evidence without first getting a warrant for a search.

It’s a decision which may limit how investigators use dogs’ sensitive noses to search out drugs, explosives and other items hidden from human sight, sound and smell, Associated Press reporter Jesse Holland writes.

It’s the second opinion this year on the use of drug-sniffing dogs by police.

The court unanimously ruled earlier in another Florida case that police don’t have to extensively document the work of drug-sniffing dogs in the field to be able to use the results of their work in court.


Highlights from the AP coverage of Tuesday’s decision:

The high court split 5-4 on the decision to uphold the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling throwing out evidence seized in the search of Joelis Jardines’ Miami-area house. That search was based on an alert by Franky the drug dog from outside the closed front door.

Justice Antonin Scalia said a person has the Fourth Amendment right to be free from the government’s gaze inside their home and in the area surrounding it, which is called the curtilage.

“The police cannot, without a warrant based on probable cause, hang around on the lawn or in the side garden, trawling for evidence and perhaps peering into the windows of the home,” Justice Antonin Scalia said for the majority.

Dissenting Justice Samuel Alito argued that it’s not trespassing when a mail carrier comes on a porch for a brief period.  And that includes “police officers who wish to gather evidence against an occupant,” Alito said.

“According to the court, however, the police officer in this case, Detective Bartelt, committed a trespass because he was accompanied during his otherwise lawful visit to the front door of the respondent’s house by his dog, Franky. Where is the authority evidencing such a rule?”

#PolTwt: Cops tweet thousands of times in first global police tweet-a-thon

Windsor Police

Windsor police in Canada have tweeted about patrol stops and taken Twitter followers behind-the-scenes of labs in the March 22 tweet-a-thon. (Screen grab from Twitter)

Law enforcement officers have sent more than 35,000 tweets Friday in the first ever “global police tweet-a-thon.”

At least 250 agencies around the world, including the FBI, are participating in the event, which was coordinated by social media strategist Lauri Stevens.

Like an online ride-along for residents to see their patrol officers, there are only two rules: Tweet local, and add #PolTwt.

It’s ranged from a glimpse inside the 911 dispatch center to live-tweeting a traffic citation to a video about what it takes to solve a homicide.

Stevens came up with the idea more than a year ago, NBC News reports.

“Isn’t that the craziest thing?” they quoted Stevens as saying. “I had this idea and here we are. That’s the power of social media.”

Coachella Valley law enforcement are not participating.

The Cathedral City Police Department tweets occasionally, and the Palm Springs Police Officers Association has an account but hasn’t tweeted yet.

The other valley law enforcement agencies do not have accounts.


How to see the Police Tweet-a-Thon:

Detective Jeremiah MacKay killed in exchange with Christopher Dorner

San Bernardino Sheriff’s Detective Jeremiah MacKay was the law enforcement officer killed Tuesday in an exchange of gunfire with Christopher Dorner.

MacKay, 35, had been a member of the department for 15 years,  Sheriff John McMahon said Wednesday in identifying the deputy publicly.

The Redlands resident was a married father of two, a 7-year-old daughter and a 4-month-old son.

More than 3,500 people had “liked” a memorial page on Facebook for him by Wednesday afternoon.

MacKay was one of two deputies who were shot early Tuesday afternoon during an extended exchange of gunfire with fugitive ex-cop Dorner.

The second officer was seriously injured and could require multiple surgeries, but is expected to recover, McMahon said.

MacKay was quoted in a news story as calling the Dorner manhunt massive and tactically complex:

“This one you just never know if the guy’s going to pop out, or where he’s going to pop out. We’re hoping this comes to a close without more casualties. The best thing would be for him to give up,” MacKay said, according to the News1130 article.

Earlier in the day Wednesday, an estimated 8,000 people attended a funeral for the first officer believed killed by Dorner — Riverside Police Officer Michael Crain.

Read complete coverage of the Dorner case here.

Chris Dorner standoff fire: Why did the cabin burn down?

Chris Dorner cabin fire

A snapshot of CNN Live on Wednesday, Feb. 13. (Kate McGinty, The Desert Sun)

Less than 24 hours after fugitive Christopher Dorner was presumed killed inside in the burned ruins of a Big Bear cabin, news media and social media users have a new hunt for answers:

How, exactly, did that fire start?

The charred body of a man believed to be Dorner — the fugitive ex-cop accused of killing two law enforcement officers and two civilians — was pulled from the ruins late Tuesday. Police had surrounded the cabin for hours after he exchanged hundreds of rounds of gunfire with law enforcement.

“We did not intentionally burn down that cabin to get Mr. Dorner out,” San Bernardino Sheriff John McMahon said in a news conference late Wednesday afternoon.

His deputies lobbed pyrotechnic tear gas into the cabin, and it erupted in flames, he said. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A series of YouTube videos claiming to include dispatches of officers talking at the scene have fueled speculation that the police could have intentionally set the fire, knowing that an accused cop killer was barricaded inside.

A video stream from KCAL9 carried live video from the Big Bear area cabin where authorities believe Dorner was hiding, hours after killing a deputy:

Chris Dorner cabin fire

In this image taken from video provided by KABC-TV, the cabin in Big Bear, Calif. where ex-Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner is believed to be barricaded inside is in flames Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/KABC-TV)

“Burn that f—ing house down!” a frantic officers says repeatedly in the YouTube video. The video’s authenticity has not been confirmed by law enforcement.

Spokesmen for the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, the lead agency in the Big Bear area, and for the Los Angeles Police Department have said they don’t know how the fire started.

A second video, this one called “Cops torch cabin where Christopher Dorner was held up,” had at least 69,000 views by Wednesday afternoon.

The video contains 5 minutes of audio of what appears to be police talking over police scanners about tearing into doors and windows of the cabin as they prepare to move in:

First man: “Alright, Steve. We’re going to go, we’re going to go forward with the plan, with the, with the burn.”

Second man: “Copy.”

First man: “Like we talked about.”

Man: “Seven burners burner deployed, and we have a fire.”


Chris Dorner cabin fire

Roads to the Angelus Oaks cabin remained block Wednesday, Feb. 13. (photo by Jay Calderon, The Desert Sun)

The term “burner” could refer to the slang police term for “tear gas” and may refer to “BurnSafe” containers, and the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that incendiary tear gas may have been used.

That video’s veracity has also not been independently confirmed.

After the fire started, a law enforcement officer said: “Fire doing quite well. I’m going to let it go,” Yahoo News reported, citing a reporter monitoring San Bernardino sheriff radios.

That report goes on to note that police would not send firemen inside if they believe an armed man was still inside.

The Desert Sun is trying to reach San Bernardino area authorities to comment on the videos — and we’re probably not the only ones.

In an Atlantic article called “Chris Dorner May Be Dead, but the LAPD Fire Still Burns,” Alexander Abad-Santos writes:

Questions remain, though, from a state and a nation rapt by the chase for a man as intriguing as he was violent, as half-believable as he appears to have been half-mad: Did the cops start the deadly fire, or did Dorner? Can cops burn another cop alive just because he killed their own? And why would there have been a plan to smoke him out if they had him trapped?

See all Dorner-related coverage:


Report: Chris Dorner engaged in police shootout in Big Bear

A man believed to be fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner exchanged dozens, if not hundreds, of rounds of gunfire with law enforcement near Big Bear early Tuesday afternoon.

One deputy was killed in the shootout, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department confirmed. A second was wounded and taken to surgery, but expected to survive.

Dorner holed up in a cabin in an isolated area of Angelus Oaks, an unincorporated town 30 miles west of Big Bear Lake.

The cabin was engulfed in flames early Tuesday evening and smoke poured out of it.

In this image taken from video provided by KABC-TV, the cabin near Big Bear where ex-Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner is believed to be barricaded inside is in flames Tuesday, Feb. 12. (AP Photo/KABC-TV)

Officers moving toward the cabin heard a single gunshot before tearing through the walls of the cabin, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

A body believed to be Dorner’s was found inside the burned cabin, according to multiple major media outlets shortly before 7 p.m.

His “charred body [was] found in rubble of burned cabin,” the Associated Press said shortly after 7 p.m., citing a law enforcement source.

However, Los Angeles police spokesman Cmdr. Andy Smith said at an 8 p.m. press conference: “That cabin is still too hot for anybody to make entry. There has been no body located inside of that cabin.”

Authorities believe the body is still inside, San Bernardino Sheriff’s spokesman Cindy Bachman said about 8:45 p.m.

See our complete coverage of the Dorner case here.

We’re continuing to post minute-by-minute updates here and via @TDSKateM:

EARLIER: Dorner broke into a cabin and held two people, according to the Associated Press. A woman called police about 12:30 p.m. to report that she had been tied up in her Club View Road home, and there were two other people inside the home, the Press-Enterprise reported.

12:22 p.m. San Bernardino sheriff’s got a call about a stolen vehicle, with a thief whose description matched Dorner’s, Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Cmdr. Andy Smith said.

A state Department of Fish and Wildlife officer spotted Dorner on Highway 38 driving in the opposite direction, the Los Angeles Times reports.

No one was hit in an initial exchange of gunfire, and Dorner got out of his car and ran before a second round of gunfire started, a Fish and Game official told KCAL9.

1 p.m. “Two officers are down,” several outlets report based on dispatcher traffic.

1:16 p.m. The Associated Press tweets that Dorner exchanged gunfire with Southern California authorities.

The shootout is in or near Angelus Oaks, an unincorporated town in San Bernardino County about 30 miles west of Big Bear City.

Redlands police officers are part of a blockade near the entrance to the San Bernardino National Forest on Tuesday, Feb. 12. (AP Photo/The Sun, Gabriel Luis Acosta)

1:20 p.m. “All routes coming off the San Bernardino mountain (Big Bear area) are being closed due to police activity for unknown duration,” the state Department of Transportation tweets.

1:34 p.m. KCAL9, the Los Angeles-based CBS affiliate, had a reporter caught near gunfire. The station aired live audio of what sounds like hundreds of rounds of gunfire and yelling.

1:37 p.m. KCAL9 reports that Dorner “is cornered” after “hundreds of rounds of gunfire” off Glass Road and Highway 38.

1:49 p.m. An ambulance has arrived to the isolated cabin scene. The condition of the two deputies hit is still unclear, KCAL 9 reports on air.

2:07 p.m. Dorner is “holed up in a cabin,” and authorities are trying to figure out how to get him out, KCAL9 reports.

2:13 p.m. The cabin is “completely surrounded” in Angelus Oaks, KCAL reports.

2:36 p.m. The two injured deputies have been airlifted to Loma Linda, a Los Angeles Times reporter tweets. Their condition is unknown.

3 p.m. The Los Angeles Police Department addressed the shooting during its daily press briefing and said it is available when called on.

LAPD continues to follow up on 1,045 tips related to Dorner, even as the scene unfolds in the Big Bear area, commander said.

3:20 p.m. A Desert Hot Springs police unit is spotted heading toward the scene. One officer who is part of a special task force has been assigned, Cmdr. Ken Peary told The Desert Sun.

Other valley police said their help has not been requested, though members of the SWAT team are on standby if mutual aid is requested, Cathedral City police Capt. Chuck Robinson said.

Law enforcement personnel search a vehicle along Highway 38 in Yucaipa on Tuesday, Feb. 12. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

3:45 p.m. The state Department of Transportation issues a notice that roads are closed going up San Bernardino Mountains. State Routes 18 (front and backside), 330 and 38 are closed “until further notice.”


4:20 p.m. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department confirms that one deputy died of wounds suffered in the shootout.

A second deputy was in surgery on Wednesday afternoon but expected to survive. Spokesmen declined to release any details about the deputies

4:27 p.m. Peace Officers Research Association of California posts on Facebook: “Our thoughts are with our brothers and sisters behind the badge as we hear news that we have just lost another officer. Please stay safe out there.”

 4:31 p.m. A Los Angeles News Group reporter was among those tweeting that a SWAT team has killed Dorner. The Desert Sun has not confirmed this report.

5:01 p.m. Congressman Paul Cook, who represents the Big Bear area, issued the following statement:

“My heart goes out to the officers and their families during this terrible tragedy and loss of life. We should never forget that law enforcement officers put their lives on the line on a daily basis. I want to commend all of the front-line law enforcement officers and San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon for their perseverance in tracking this dangerous fugitive. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this senseless crime.”

5:27 p.m. The Associated Press issues news alert saying that Dorner never left the cabin that went up in flames. It cites an anonymous law enforcement source.

5:52 p.m. The CBS affiliate in Los Angeles reports that “tracks were found leading to a horse corral,”

6 p.m. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio speaks about the families of victims during an interview on KNX 1070 radio.

Villaraigosa said: “Thank God for them this ordeal is over.”

6:42 p.m. A senior correspondent for CBS reports that a body believed to be Dorner’s was found inside the burned cabin.

ABC News tweets separate but identical report several minutes later.


A recap of why Dorner is wanted

Police say the killing spree started Feb. 3, when a couple in a parking garage at their Irvine condominium were shot to death.

Police believe Dorner next shot and grazed an officer in Corona and then used a rifle to ambush two Riverside police officers at a stoplight early Thursday, killing one and seriously wounding the other.

Dorner — a former Los Angeles police officer accused in a revenge killing spree — was charged Monday with the Feb. 7 murder of that officer.

More than 100 officers have been hunting the Big Bear area for Dorner, whose truck was found there last Thursday.

See our complete coverage of the Dorner case here.

Chris Dorner: What you need to know about the shooting, manifesto and Big Bear

This undated photo released by the Los Angeles Police Department shows suspect Christopher Dorner, a former Los Angeles officer. (AP photo/LAPD)

In the hours after Southern California law enforcement announced they were looking for Christopher Dorner, national media saturated the digital world with reports.

Dorner, #LAPD and Big Bear have all been trending nationally on Twitter.

Here is the recap:

Did his firing from Los Angeles police prompt a manifesto?

Dorner’s longtime dream of being an officer ended in 2008 after he was fired as a Los Angeles police officer. That’s what led to a 14-page manifesto called “Last resort,” police say, that authorities believe Dorner authored.

Anderson Cooper tweeted: “Learned today suspect Christopher Dorner sent me a parcel at CNN. Inside was a note, DVD, and a coin shot thru with bullet holes.”

Dorner’s military career ended last week

Dorner, 33, left the military Feb. 1 as a Navy lieutenant, according to military records obtained by photojournalist Crystal Chatham.

Two people dead in Irvine on Sunday

Police say he began carrying out the plan last weekend, killing a man and his fiancée, whose father represented Dorner when he fought to keep his job.

Los Angeles Police Department officers investigate the site of a shooting Thursday in Corona. Christopher Dorner is suspected of this shooting of two LAPD officers who were sent to Corona to protect someone Dorner threatened in a rambling online manifesto. (AP photo/Nick Ut)

One Riverside officer killed, second one wounded

Police say Dorner ambushed two Riverside police officers at a stoplight, killing one of them and seriously wounding the other on Tuesday morning.

It was the eighth anniversary of Dorner’s first day on the job with the LAPD.

The Riverside officer was the second killed in the line of duty in California this year. We’ve got numbers on officer deaths and assaults here.

A burning vehicle found

Thousands of officers swarmed into Southern California and Nevada, in what may be the biggest manhunt in LAPD history.

The San Bernardino Sun reports that authorities confirmed a truck found on fire near Big Bear belonged to Dorner. 

Bear Mountain closes for the day

Big Bear Mountain issued a media statement that it would be closed for the rest of the day because of the search for Dorner.

“We are in constant contact with federal and local authorities regarding this situation,” Big Bear Mountain Resorts spokesman Chris Riddle said. “We felt it was in the best interest of the search to close Bear Mountain for the rest of the day.”

Flowers are placed on a police vehicle near the area where a shooting took place in Riverside on Thursday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Riverside County orders flags lowered, announces prayer vigil

Riverside County will lower its flags until sunset on Thursday, Feb. 17, in honor of the fallen officer.

Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey invited the public to a prayer vigil at 6 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 7) outside Riverside City Hall, 3900 Main St.


Chris Dorner manhunt: Riverside police officer second killed in California this year

Desert Sun file photo from May 2008 of a mourning badge on a Cathedral City police officer.

A Riverside police officer was killed Thursday, and a second one wounded, when police say they were ambushed at a stop light.

Thousands of police officers flooded into Southern California and Nevada looking for the suspected gunman, identified as former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner. He’s also named as the suspected gunman in two deaths in Irvine on Sunday.

The killed officer, who police have not identified publicly, was the second  officer to be shot to death in California this year.

Galt Police Officer Kevin A. Tonn, 35, was killed Jan. 15 when he was responding to a burglary call.

The Riverside police officer’s death brings the total number of officers killed in California history to 1,535.

That figure is higher than the entire populations of 20 different cities or towns in California.

U.S. law enforcement death and assault reports by the numbers:* 

  • Ten officers have been killed in the line of duty in the U.S. this year (a 52 percent drop from the same time period last year).
  • An average of 156 officers are killed per year in the U.S.
  • An average of 58,261 officers are assaulted each year.

In honor of the Riverside police officer, Riverside County has ordered flags be flown at half-staff until Thursday, Feb. 14.

There will be a prayer vigil outside Riverside City Hall at 6 p.m. (Thursday, Feb. 7.)

* Sources: Officer Down Memorial Page and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

Chris Dorner manhunt: Riverside County lowers flags, calls prayer vigil

File photo of a California Highway Patrol badge with the mourning band, a symbol of respect for a fallen officer. (AP file photo)

Riverside County ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of the Riverside police officer killed early Thursday.

The flags — the U.S., California and the POW — should be lowered across the county until sunset on Feb. 14.

The officer, who police have not identified publicly, was shot and killed, and a second officer shot and wounded.

The officers were ambushed while they were stopped at a red light, police said during a news conference.

A massive manhunt continues for the suspected gunman, identified by police as former Los Angeles officer Chris Dorner.

Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey invited the public to a prayer vigil at 6 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 7) outside Riverside City Hall, 3900 Main St.

Riverside County Board of Supervisors chairman John Benoit sent the following email Thursday afternoon:

Dear County Team Members -

As you know we have lost a brave police officer earlier today.  This brave officer was a member of the Riverside Police Department.  We are also hoping for the full recovery of another Riverside police officer who was wounded in the same shooting.

Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey has invited members of the county family to join with him and the members of the city of Riverside family for a Prayer Vigil at Riverside City Hall, 3900 Main St., at 6 p.m. tonight, Feb. 7.  I will be there and encourage you, your family and friends to attend.

A half-staff flag advisory is currently in effect in honor of the memory of the officer killed in the line of duty.  The flag of the United States, the State of California and the POW flag shall be flown at half-staff at all county-owned and leased facilities until sunset Thursday, February 14, 2013.

Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go to the family and friends of the fallen police officer.



Chairman of the Board

Supervisor, Fourth District

1 out of 5 arrested is someone on parole or probation, California study finds

Desert Sun file photo

One out of every five people arrested is on parole or probation — a lower number than law enforcement expected — according to a newly published study.

Researchers examined to what extent people on parole or probation contribute to crime (as measured by arrests).

They used data from Los Angeles, Redlands, Sacramento and San Francisco police over more than three years, ending in June 2011.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization based in Kentucky, found:

  • The majority of adult felony and misdemeanor arrests (77%) involved people who were not under supervision.
  • When looking only at drug violations, one out of every three people arrested was on probation or parole.
  • Total arrests fell by 18 percent. Meanwhile, the number parolees arrested fell 61 percent, and people on probation declined 26 percent.

The data shows there’s a “small fraction” of parolees who are “contributing disproportionately to drug-related crime,” Redlands Police Chief Mark Garcia said this week in a news statement about the study.

As a whole, though, Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel said:

“Our assumption has been that people under probation and parole were driving our arrest activity, but the data suggests otherwise,” he said.

“This new information opens up opportunities for law enforcement agencies, which are grappling with huge budget cuts, to work with partners in probation and parole to be more efficient and targeted in our prevention, intervention, and enforcement efforts.”

The study was paid for by the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States, the Public Welfare Foundation, the Fund for Nonviolence and the Rosenberg Foundation.