What happened in the Christopher Dorner case? The LAPD killer in Netflix Cecil Hotel doc

He went on a killing spree whilst Elisa Lam was missing, hugely stretching police

In the first episode of Netflix documentary series Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, the case of Christopher Dorner is mentioned as unfolding at the same time as the mystery of Elisa Lam’s disappearance.

The Netflix documentary tells the story of the 2013 death of Canadian student Elisa Lam, who was found in a water tank on the roof the Cecil Hotel, where she had been staying in Los Angeles. Whilst LAPD officers were still searching for Elisa, they heard that Christopher Dorner was on a killing spree, and this meant to the police had to reduce the numbers of investigators searching for the missing student so they could focus on this case instead.

In the Netflix doc we hear that LAPD was “at war” with the then 33-year-old, and it was “under attack by one of its own”. But after then, the story of Christopher Dorner is not mentioned again, so what happened?

Christopher Dorner, case, LAPD, Los Angeles, shooting, manhunt, Elisa Lam, Cecil Hotel, Netflix

via Netflix

What happened in the Christopher Dorner shootings and manhunt case?

Christopher Dorner was a former police officer and college graduate who went on a killing spree in February 2013 – whilst Elisa Lam was still a missing person. He was targeting law enforcement and their families and said he “wouldn’t stop until he was dead”. His case forced the LAPD to reduce numbers looking for Elisa Lam from 18 people down to four.

For nine days he wreaked havoc on the police force, taking revenge on his former colleagues. He started his spree on February 3rd, and is accused of murdering the daughter of an ex-LAPD captain and her fiancé and shooting dead another officer. Three further police personnel were shot and wounded while he was on the loose, and another died in the final standoff at the end of his manhunt.

Dorner posted a 6,000 word manifesto on Facebook at the start of his rampage, declaring “unconventional and asymmetric warfare” on the LAPD, their families and associates. He said his rage stemmed from the racism he insisted was rife in the police, in response to reports of officers using excessive force on black suspects.

Dorner killed four people and wounded three others. On February 12th 2013, Dorner died during a standoff with San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies after a shootout in a cabin at a ski resort in the San Bernardino Mountains, south California.

As well as this, during the incident police shot at three vehicles they believed to be being driven by Christopher Dorner. One of the civilians was hit by the police gunfire, another was wounded by shattered glass, and a third was injured when police rammed his vehicle and opened fire.

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Guests describe what it was like staying at the Cecil Hotel when Elisa Lam went missing

• Watch the full CCTV video of Elisa Lam in the Cecil Hotel elevator, in real time

• Is the Cecil Hotel from the Netflix doc still open today? Here’s what it’s like now