(CBS/AP) IRVINE, Calif. - Los Angeles officials announced a $1 million reward Sunday for information leading to the capture of Christopher Dorner, the ex-cop accused of killing three people in a deadly revenge plot against his old department.
Authorities were working to protect dozens of families in the area who are considered targets based on 33-year-old Dorner's Facebook rant against those he held responsible for ending his career with the Los Angeles Police Department five years ago. A $1 million reward was put up for information leading to his capture on the fourth day of the massive manhunt.
"We will not tolerate this reign of terror," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Several tips came in within a few hours after the award announcement, including a reported Dorner sighting that had police surrounding and evacuating a Lowe's Home Improvement store in San Fernando Valley, police spokesman Gus Villanueva said. A search of the store yielded no evidence that Dorner was there or had been there.
After days without resolution, Dorner's fugitive status caused concern among some and downright fear among others in Irvine, an upscale community that the FBI consistently ranks among the safest cities in the U.S.
Dorner's background added to the anxiety. The former LAPD officer also served in the Navy, earning a rifle marksman ribbon and a pistol expert medal. He was assigned to a naval undersea warfare unit and various aviation training units, according to military records. In his online post, Dorner vowed to use "every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordnance and survival training I've been given" to bring "warfare" to the LAPD and its families.
Two law enforcement agents spoke to The Associated Press under condition of anonymity that police looked into a taunting phone call to the father of the woman they believe Dorner killed last week. They were trying to determine whether Dorner made the call telling retired police Capt. Randal Quan that he should have done a better job protecting his daughter.
The bodies of Monica Quan and her fiancé, Keith Lawrence, were found shot dead on Feb. 3 in Irvine, marking the start of the high-profile case. Things escalated early Thursday morning, when police said Dorner got into a shootout with police in Corona, grazing an LAPD officer's head with a bullet before escaping. Authorities believe he then used a rifle to ambush two Riverside police officers, killing one and seriously wounding the other.
About 65 miles away, the manhunt continued in the San Bernardino mountains near the ski resort town of Big Bear, where authorities found Dorner's burned out pickup truck Thursday. Police have since said they discovered weapons and camping gear inside the vehicle.
The search scaled down as the weekend went on, but a helicopter with heat-seeking technology scanned the area as two-dozen officers went back to some of the 600 cabins they earlier visited door to door.
LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the department deployed 50 protection details to guard officers and their families who are deemed targets in Dorner's manifesto. The department, however, is looking for alternatives if the search for Dorner stretches on, whether it's reducing the numbers of officers or something else.
There were no plans to reduce protections until Dorner was in custody, said Los Angeles police Sgt. Rudy Lopez.
As long as Dorner's whereabouts are unknown, the police department must provide protection to those named in his rant, said Chuck Drago, a Florida-based police consultant.
"We realize it costs money and it gets expensive, but this is as clear of a threat as you can get," Drago said. "We know that if he's able to get to these targets then he's probably able to hurt them. The money is always an issue but not when it's somebody's life at stake."
If the search drags on, the LAPD will likely find safe houses for the targeted individuals, much as they would for witness protection participants, instead of posting officers outside their homes, Drago said.
The LAPD remained on either a modified or full tactical alert since the ordeal began, responding only to priority calls and not to those for lesser issues such as public intoxication or business disputes.
On Sunday morning, authorities had six cars protecting Capt. Phil Tingirides, who chaired a disciplinary panel that stripped Dorner of his badge. Black and white police cruisers were posted on each end of his street and four more were parked outside his home. At least a half-dozen officers were visibly standing guard.