When Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced a $1 million dollar reward for information leading to the capture of ex-cop Christopher Dorner, the subsequent manhunt would nevertheless involve multiple parties whose tips and placement in the drawn out capture would lead, ultimately, to Dorner’s suicide after a gun fight. Three judges decided the award and the Los Angeles Police Department announced it, awarding it as follows: $800,000 will go to James and Karen Reynolds, who were tied up by Dorner in their Big Bear cabin; $150,000 will go to Daniel McGowan, who found Dorner’s burning truck in the Big Bear area; and $50,000 will go to R.L. McDaniel who earlier reported that Dorner was at a gas station.
McDaniel was the first involved in the manhunt, and spotted Dorner at a gas station. He soon notified an LAPD officer who happened to arrive nearby.
“As the officers interviewed Mr. McDaniel, Dorner’s vehicle turned back … and passed by the AM / PM en route to Interstate 15 northbound. Mr. McDaniel positively identified the truck,” said the judgment on award money, as reported by the Associated Press.
Two shootouts and a car chase later, Dorner had escaped, and McGowan’s tip would be necessary to get the manhunt back on track. The testimony of the Reynolds was perhaps the most lived-in and participatory to the venture, as their very Nissan SUV was stolen in Dorner’s escape. He would later crash it and hijack camp ranger Rick Heltebrake’s vehicle, and that vehicle was tracked to the cabin where Dorner had his last shootout before dying.
Heltebrake was left out of the award money schemata, and this because apparently he did not submit a claim for the reward in the correct manner. It seems, overall, that one rogue ex-cop’s decision to make his department pay for sacking him was like an action movie to a population eager to claim the $1 million reward money. Unfortunately, four people were killed by Dorner in the process.