Storm hinders search for ex-LAPD officer

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BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. -- Law enforcement officers working in falling snow searched a Southern California mountain yesterday for the former Los Angeles police officer accused of carrying out a killing spreeĀ because he felt he was unfairly fired from his job.

"We're going to continue searching until either we discover that he left the mountain or we find him, one of the two," San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said. More than 100 officers from various agencies were searching for Christopher Dorner in the Big Bear Lake region of the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles.

SWAT teams were driven up snowbound roads on Snowcat tractors and armored personnel carriers equipped with snow chains, he said, but helicopters with heat-sensing technology were grounded because of the storm. Visibility was low as clouds shrouded Big Bear's towering, forested peaks.

A search of dozens of homes in the Big Bear community failed to find Dorner, and the search was concentrating farther back in the mountains, near and above the place where his burnt-out pickup truck was found on Thursday, the sheriff said. Officers followed what appeared to be Dorner's tracks from the truck but lost them on the frozen ground, McMahon said.

"There's a lot of cabins up there that are abandoned. We want to make sure that he didn't find a place to hide out for the night," he said.

Though the focus is on the resort area, the search for Dorner, 33, stretches across California, Nevada, Arizona and northern Mexico. LAPD officers are especially on edge because Dorner promised in rambling writings to bring "warfare" to police and their families.

Dorner, also a former naval reservist and onetime college running back, was fired from the LAPD years ago.

LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said it's not known why the violence is occurring now.

The saga began Sunday night, when Monica Quan, the daughter of a former Los Angeles police captain, and fiance Keith Lawrence were found shot in their car at a parking structure at their condominium in Irvine.

On Wednesday night, Irvine and Los Angeles police announced they were searching for Dorner, declaring him armed and "extremely dangerous." On Thursday, two officers on routine patrol in neighboring Riverside were ambushed at a stoplight by a motorist who drove up next to them and opened fire with a rifle. One died and the other was seriously wounded.

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Agents were inspecting a package sent to CNN's Anderson Cooper that arrived in New York on Feb. 1, days before the first two killings. It contained a note that read, in part, "I never lied."

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