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Gunshots Sounded 'Like Fireworks,' Torrance Shooting Witnesses Say

Officers erroneously shoot at two pickup trucks similar to the one owned by Christopher Dorner, an ex-LAPD officer accused of killing three people.

South Bay residents remained on edge Friday after two shooting incidents in Torrance where officers mistook two different vehicles for one driven by an ex-Los Angeles Police Department officer suspected of killing multiple people, among them another police officer.

A 71-year-old woman remained hospitalized Friday morning due to two gunshot wounds she suffered when Los Angeles police detectives on the lookout for Christopher Jordan Dorner, 33, opened fire on her bright blue pickup truck as she and her daughter were delivering the Los Angeles Times in Torrance, a few blocks from the Redondo Beach border.

Emma Hernandez and her daughter, Margie Carranza, 47, were shot at on Redbeam Avenue in Torrance at around 5:15 a.m. Thursday. Hernandez was twice hit in the back, according to her attorney, and was reported Thursday night to be stable. Her daughter received stitches on her finger where a bullet or piece of glass hit her.

Neighbors reported hearing hearing more than a dozen rounds fired.

"The sound was surreal, sort of like fireworks!" said Lloyd Taylor, who owns Triathlon Lab in Redondo Beach. "As 30-40 shots were fired within sections at (approximately) 5 a.m.!"

In a comment left on Redondo Beach Patch, Alexander Starr also said the gunshots sounded like fireworks. "I woke up to the gunshots," he wrote. "Dozens of shots were fired, pop pop pop pop!"

"I shouldn't have peeked out my windows, but I did, and there were the cops in my driveway, shooting," Redondo Union High School chemistry teacher Linda Dillard told the school newspaper, the High Tide. "(Later) we just heard a lot of police orders, but the shooting was over."

Dillard told the High Tide that her and her husband's garage door and house were hit by bullets. The windows in her husband's car were hit, and her car had one bullet in it.

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Another neighbor told the Los Angeles News Group that it seemed like there were thousands of police outside.

"It sounded like small cannons going off," said Joanne Faneuff.

Attorney Glen T. Jonas, who is representing the victims, said that it appeared the officers did not give the two women in the truck a chance to surrender.

"The problem with the situation is, it looked like the police had the goal of administering street justice and in so doing, didn't take the time to notice that these two older, small Latina women don't look like a large black man," attorney Glen T. Jonas, who is representing the victims, told the Los Angeles Times.

Dorner is black, 6 feet tall and 270 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes.

"We trust that the LAPD will step up and do the right thing and acknowledge that what they did was unacceptable, and we'll deal with it," Jonas said.

Police chief Charlie Beck Thursday called the Torrance shooting "a case of mistaken identity."

Beck said the vehicle was being driven "in the area of one of our primary protection details, one of the people that was under the most serious level of threat." LAPD officers were protecting a captain named in a manifesto left behind that police believe was authored by Dorner. In the manifesto, he vowed to go on a killing spree in retaliation for having been fired from the LAPD.

Dorner is accused of killing three people since Sunday. A Riverside officer was killed in an ambush early Thursday.

"It's obvious that police wanted to execute this guy," Jonas told the Daily Breeze. "They forgot the reason there are rules of engagement. Thank God nobody is dead. It's street justice. That's always unacceptable."

Torrance police Sgt. Chris Roosen said Thursday that officers had believed Dorner was in the South Bay because they had received information that he had been spotted on the 105 Freeway and had headed south down Sepulveda Boulevard/Pacific Coast Highway.

Shortly after the women delivering papers were fired on, two Torrance police officers in a cruiser saw a truck that also looked to them like Dorner's, according to a Torrance Police Department statement from Sgt. Chris Roosen. The officers were responding to a "shots fired" call when they noticed the truck "suddenly leaving" the area where the LAPD detectives had opened fire.

The squad car purposely collided with the black truck on Flagler Lane south of Beryl Street, "and an officer-involved shooting occurred," according to the statement.

Roosen said Thursday that he did not know how many shots the officers fired.

"The person that was driving the shot vehicle was not hit," Roosen said, who added that the person is cooperating with police. Neither of the officers was injured, and the pickup truck was not the suspect's vehicle.

Police did not offer any identifying information on the driver, and did not say whether the driver was male or female.

According to the Beach Reporter, the 2006 Honda pickup involved in the second shooting was registered to Redondo Beach resident Lizzette Perdue. She would not speak with reporter Larry Altman about the truck's involvement.

In an email advisory sent Thursday morning, authorities described Dorner's vehicle as a dark gray Nissan Titan with a ski rack on top of the vehicle. The truck was later found burning in Big Bear.

Torrance police originally indicated that the second shooting was unrelated to the Dorner investigation.

—City News Service contributed to this report.

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South Bay Resident February 09, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Wow...Bush Jr. and Obama's Police State has really, really arrived...hasn't it? Just start shooting at vehicles that LOOK like the one the suspect was driving? What sort of authority did these "law?" enforcement officers have in taking such an illegal action? Were these officer's lives being threatened? You don't just go about shooting at whoever and whatever you damned well please whenever you damned well please. See, and the government wants to take people's guns away...all the while, it is the police who we need to keep our eyes peeled for at all times. I want a safe and reliable police force. I do not want a bunch of yahoos posing as "law?" enforcement officers. Who needs that?
George Hung February 10, 2013 at 12:52 AM
Yes. These cops need more than their eyes examined. They need to have their badges taken away. Yes, all 7 of them, and they should go to trial. Sickening.
orlando February 10, 2013 at 02:12 AM
Torrance PD has always been a little trigger happy, but apparently they're docile compared to LAPD. TPD only rammed 1 truck and shot at the driver. LAPD supposedly had 6 officers dump their guns into a pickup with 2 passenger and all the surrounding houses and cars. Buffoons at best. Wanna be murderers at worst.
Redondo Beach Resident February 10, 2013 at 04:48 AM
I now consider the Torrance police dept as armed and dangerous...what a bunch of cowards.
Jim Hobbins February 10, 2013 at 05:05 AM
Just another drone strike.

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