Christopher Dorner hit list targets speak out on life in hiding
(CBS News) Two married police officers were at the top of revenge killer Christopher Dorner's hit list. The fired Los Angeles Police officer not only threatened to kill them, but their children.
CBS News senior correspondent John Miller, the former head of the LAPD Major Crimes Division, recently spoke with the couple.
Miller first met Phillip Tingirides in 2003 when he was working as a lieutenant working in a South Los Angeles gang squad. Before Christopher Dorner was fired from the LAPD in 2008 for allegedly making false statements, he appeared before a board and Tingirides was one of the people who sat on that board. As a member of that board, Tingirides was one of those who recommended Dorner's firing, putting him and his family at the top of Dorner's hit list. Dorner, who is believed to have killed himself amid a fierce gunfight with authorities last week, is accused of killing four people and wounding three others in a revenge-style killing spree.
After Dorner's death, Capt. Phillip Tingirides returned to the streets of South Los Angeles with his wife, Sgt. Emada Tingirides. Miller asked them what it was like for their family, two cops with six children living in the cross-hairs.
"They don't teach us in the academy how to protect your family when there's a maniac that wants to kill your children," Emada Tingirides said.
Dorner's rampage began in targeting Randy Quan, the lawyer who defended him at the hearing, -- though instead of killing Quan, Dorner fatally shot his daughter, Monica, and her fiance Keith Lawrence.
"What really made a difference for me, and what really drove it home, was that he has already acted, he had already killed somebody else's child," Phillip Tingirides said.
Dorner would open fire on officers who were searching for him. Detectives believe that Dorner had stalked Phillip Tingirides. Dorner was spotted by neighbors outside the Tingirides home.
Asked what it was like at home, Phillip Tingirides said, "I get the phone call, and the first thing I did was call, get a hold of the kids to find out where they all were, got them all together. Once we got home, we were able to explain to the kids as best we could that there was a threat, but we had to be strong, we had to put up the front that 'everything's good, you're protected here.'"
Emada Tingirides added, "I didn't sleep that night, there were two officers posted in our backyard and every 20, 25 minutes, I just get up and look out my window, and there they were, standing tall with their gun in hand and their helmet on, and they never slept."
Asked about the fact that the threat was coming from a former LAPD officer, Emada said she was "in denial."
"[I] kept asking my husband, 'Are you sure it's Christopher Dorner, the one that worked Harbor when I worked Harbor?' So it took a couple of hours for us to really sit down and let this sink in and realize that, you know, this is real."
Dorner's manifesto named Phillip Tingirides and other officers as part of a racially biased LAPD establishment that had fired him unfairly. But to travel through the streets of Southeast Los Angeles, once ravaged by gang violence, Phillip and Emada Tingirides have strong supporters in a neighborhood where police were once looked on as the enemy.
Cathy Wooten, a community activist, said, "Some of us, when we talk about Captain T, and his wife, it doesn't have anything to do with their careers or what they do. They're just good-hearted people. And they're real people."
Donny Joubert, a former gang member and community organizer, told Miller, "They are our family. Again, our community has changed tremendously. We went through a lot. And Captain and Mrs. Tingirides, they've always been in our corner."
Phillip Tingirides said, "I've been at Southeast for six years, no captain's ever worked here for that long, or close to that . ... I'm here because I wanna be here. I'm here because we have made a huge change in the relationship of the police officers with the community."
Miller asked, "Are you surprised to see that dynamic was reversed? When it was you two that were under the gun? That the community responded the way that you have to them?"
Emada Tingirides said, "I was surprised, because normally we're not the recipients of, you know, of those phone calls and those good words. And we had community members from Watts calling and saying, 'We need you here, we can't let anything happen to you.'"
Asked if she read Dorner's manifesto, Emada Tingirides said, "I got through the first two paragraphs and stopped reading."
Miller remarked, "One of the things he said in the manifesto is, nothing has changed since Rampart, nothing has changed since Rodney King, nothing's improved since the '90s. What do you think about that?"
Emada Tingirides said, "I think that that's absolutely untrue. I am an example that things have changed, especially within the Los Angeles Police Department. I've been given the same opportunity as Christopher Dorner has been given."
Searching for a silver lining, Phillip and Emada Tingirides say they have learned two things: that the pressure brought on last week brought them closer together, and that the community they helped protect was ready to protect them, too.
Emada Tingirides said, "It feels good, I was a little apprehensive, but it feels good to be back. And out."
When the threat that Tingirides and his family became public, an offer to provide protection came from a most unlikely place: the Bounty Hunters gang, one of the most feared in Los Angeles.
"That says something pretty unusual. ... That is a new level of community outreach and relations," Miller said. "That a gang would make an offer like that for a police officer, let alone a captain."
For more with Miller, and to watch his full report in the video above.
- Boston bombing suspect's friend killed in FBI shootout
- Stories of survival: Second-grader recounts tornado
- Doctor: Modern wheat a "perfect, chronic poison"
- Boston bombings suspect left note in boat he hid in
- Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women of 2013 list released
- Spirit Airlines CEO on bad ratings, high occupancy
- Carey: Why I changed my mind about "Price is Right"
- Mark Harmon: Humor and characters make "NCIS" a hit
- Coach's quick call saves Moore football team
- Deadly second act: 1999 Moore tornado vs. 2013 storm
- Spirit Airlines CEO: We're the McDonald's of airlines
- One-pilot flights: Revolutionary or "ludicrous?"
- Jodi Arias reveals plans for prison
- Pregnant teacher used body to shield kids from tornado
- Noisy cicadas come back to life after years underground
- Spirit Airlines puts low cost over comfort