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Meeting a murderer: One man's encounter with former cop Christopher Dorner

By Melissa Mecija,


SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — It has been 10 years since a former Los Angeles police officer killed four people and escaped law enforcement for days, resulting in a massive manhunt that spanned Southern California.

Christopher Dorner was fired from the LAPD and went on a murderous rampage back in February 2013, killing a young couple in Irvine and two Inland Empire police officers.

San Diego fisherman Mike Flynn remembers that search because he unknowingly met the murderer during the manhunt.

“I remember it still pretty vividly,” Flynn said.

It was nine days of searching for Dorner in 2013.

It began with the killing of Monica Quan and her fiancé Keith Lawrence, who was a public safety officer at the University of Southern California. They were found shot to death on Feb. 3. Quan was the daughter of a retired Los Angeles police captain.

As the pieces fell into place, it turned out the suspected murderer was also a former law enforcement officer set on vengeance.

Dorner was a former Navy reservist who had been fired from the LAPD.

Flynn met Dorner in early February in Pt. Loma. “He came down… maybe about two in the afternoon. He was just kind of walking around the docks,” Flynn said. “I guess he was trying to find a boat.”

At that point, Flynn knew nothing of the murders or the search to find Dorner in a nearby hotel at the Navy base.

For Flynn, he was just helping someone trying to find a boat.

“[I] kind of assumed he was ex-military or something just because of his demeanor [and] the way he carried himself,” Flynn said. “I told him that my boat wasn’t available. We’re doing work on it.”

Because there wasn’t a boat available, Flynn said Dorner bought him and a few others lunch. It was a pleasant experience with no red flags.

Looking back, Flynn can’t help but wonder what would have happened if circumstances were different. “Who knows what that would have been if he chartered my boat?” Flynn asked. “Maybe, it was going to be a one-way trip for me.’

Flynn was lucky. After lunch, he said Dorner went on his way. It wasn’t the case for another man held hostage aboard his boat by Dorner in Pt. Loma.

Dorner tied the man up and held him hostage, but his plan didn’t work and Dorner fled that night. The man, who didn’t want to go on camera, said it is a night he wants to forget and feels fortunate that—in his early 90s—he is still alive.

It was after the story of that fellow boater became public, Flynn realized he may have dodged death.

“The next morning on the news,[I’m] making my coffee and looking at the television going, wait a minute. I've seen that guy before somewhere,” Flynn said.

After a couple of days on the run in San Diego, Dorner murdered Riverside police officer Michael Crain in an ambush and killed San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Detective Jeremiah MacKay as he tried to escape arrest.

On Feb. 12, Dorner engaged in a shootout with law enforcement. The cabin he was holed up in caught fire. His body was found inside with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

As the years went on, Flynn spent countless days on the ocean with the memory of meeting a murderer tucked away but never forgotten.

“It could have turned into something else,” Flynn said. Fortunately, it didn't.”

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