A resident of San Jacinto in Riverside County recalls attending high school and playing freshman football with rogue ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner, who is accused of a vengeance-fueled killing spree that ended with his death Tuesday Feb. 12 in the San Bernardino Mountains.
"I saw the pictures on the news and then I saw his full name, and I was like, 'Oh, that's who it is,' because I knew him as Jordan in high school," Cesar Hurtado, 34, said in a phone interview Friday. "I remember him going by Jordan, his middle name.
"So once I realized that, that's when I pulled out my freshman yearbook, and I was like, 'Yup, that's him.'"
In the aftermath of Dorner's confirmed death in a shootout and cabin fire off State Route 38 east of Angelus Oaks, more details are emerging about the alleged quadruple-homicide suspect.
Hurtado said he and Dorner attended John F. Kennedy High School in La Palma in 1994 and 1995. The name of the yearbook is "The Eternal Flame," Hurtado said.
A photo from the Eternal Flame shared with Patch by Hurtado shows Dorner among freshmen classmates looking straight-faced, wearing a crewneck shirt with horizontal stripes across his upper chest and shoulders.
"We played football," Hurtado said. "I only played the freshman year. I do remember him playing football. I believe he was a lineman, because that's what I was. It was the freshman football team we played together."
Hurtado said he remembers Dorner "being a normal kid."
"Nothing special stood out, like for instance with some other kids, whether they're rebellious or dirty, you remember that because there's something different about them.
"He was just laid back, nothing special as far as anything odd about him. That's probably why I don't remember too much details about him. I just remember him walking around class and school. For whatever reason I remember him liking to wear polo shirts. Most kids wear T-shirts."
Hurtado said he sometimes pays little attention to the news, and he is often skeptical of what he sees and reads on the news, so he was surprised when he eventually noticed his former classmate on tv and Facebook.
"At first I didn't think nothing of it," Hurtado said. "I tend to stay away from the news sometimes because I don't believe everything that's on the news and the media.
"I watch some . . . like real news, but then when I just saw the hype, everybody's talking about it, I was like 'Hey.' When I first realized I went to high school with him, I was like 'No big deal.' But when I realized how big it was, on Facebook and that, it was like here's who I went to high school with, 'America's Most Wanted' . . .
"Then once I realized what he actually did, people were killed . . . . Don't get me wrong, I feel that what he did as far as trying to expose the corruptness of the police and stuff, I think that more people should step up and do that.
"But what he did, as far as actually killing innocent people, that obviously I don't think anybody would agree with. Not even his own family."
The manhunt for the military-trained marksman gripped Southern California and the nation for more than a week.
From the discovery of two bodies in an Irvine parking structure, followed by shootouts with law enforcement in Corona and Riverside, six days of uncertainty and tension in the mountain resort of Big Bear, to the violent climax in Seven Oaks below the San Gorgonio Wilderness, Dorner allegedly terrorized law enforcement by following through with threats he laid out in a so-called manifesto posted online.
Authorities believe Dorner, who was fired by the Los Angeles Police Department in 2009, is accountable for four killings in the space of ten days: a former LAPD captain's daughter and her fiancé in Irvine on Feb. 3, Riverside police Officer Michael Crain on Feb. 7, and San Bernardino County sheriff's Detective Jeremiah MacKay on Feb. 12.
Crain was a Redlands High School graduate, a student at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, and a Beaumont resident. MacKay worked in the Big Bear area and Yucaipa and he was a resident of Redlands. Both men leave behind wives and young children.
Charred human remains found in a burned out cabin east of Angelus Oaks late Tuesday were positively identified with dental records during an autopsy as the remains of Dorner, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department announced Feb. 14.
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