David Perdue was on his way to sneak in some surfing before work Thursday morning when police flagged him down. They asked who he was and where he was headed, then sent him on his way.
Seconds later, Perdue’s attorney said, a Torrance police cruiser slammed into his pickup and officers opened fire; none of the bullets struck Perdue.
His pickup, police later explained, matched the description of the one belonging to Christopher Jordan Dorner — the ex-cop who has evaded authorities after allegedly killing three and wounding two more. But the pickups were different makes and colors. And Perdue looks nothing like Dorner: He’s several inches shorter and about a hundred pounds lighter. And Perdue is white; Dorner is black.
“I don’t want to use the word buffoonery but it really is unbridled police lawlessness,” said Robert Sheahen, Perdue’s attorney. “These people need training and they need restraint.”
The incident involving Perdue was the second time police looking for the fugitive former LAPD officer opened fire on someone else. The shootings have raised concerns that the fear Dorner has instilled has added another layer of danger.
“Nobody trains police officers to look for one of their own,” said Maria Haberfeld, a police training professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes and I don’t think anybody else would.”
Torrance police said the officers who slammed into Perdue were responding to shots fired moments earlier in a nearby area where LAPD officers were standing guard outside the home of someone targeted in an online manifesto that authorities have attributed to Dorner.
In the first incident, LAPD officers opened fire on another pickup they feared was being driven by Dorner. The mother and daughter inside the truck were delivering Los Angeles Times newspapers. The older woman was shot twice in the back and the other was wounded by broken glass.
In Perdue’s case, his attorney said he wasn’t struck by bullets or glass but was injured in the car wreck, suffering a concussion and an injury to his shoulder. The LAX baggage handler hasn’t been able to work since, and his car is totaled, Sheahen said.