Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Family Targeted By Dorner Recalls Ordeal

Brianna Sacks |
February 19, 2013 | 10:10 p.m. PST

Editor At Large

 

(Sgt. Emada and Cpt. Phil Tingirides/Brianna Sacks, Neon Tommy)
(Sgt. Emada and Cpt. Phil Tingirides/Brianna Sacks, Neon Tommy)
Captain Phil Tingirides, his wife, Sergeant Emada Tingirides, and their children hid from Christopher Dorner for six days during the ex-L.A. police officer's rampage. 

The couple was among 50 other officers listed in Dorner's manifesto, an extensive document published online where the fired cop vowed to wage war against those he thought had wronged him and were involved in his unjustly termination from the Los Angeles Police Department in 2008. 

The Tingirides family was part of an unprecedented level of protection for a large group of officers and their families.

Phil Tingirides was the chairman of the Dorner Board of Rights case. Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said in a press conference Tuesday that Tingirides ran the board and was an integral part of the decision making progress in firing Dorner. 

Tingirides, his wife and their six children discovered they were some of Dorner's targets after the manifesto was released.

The couple spoke about their experience undergoing police protection during the manhunt at the Tuesday morning press conference, recalling the fear, frustration and bonding that occurred during their six day ordeal earlier this month. 

They also debunked the racist allegations listed in the manifesto, saying the racist allegations were completely untrue and that the L.A. Police Department has made incredible strides in its relationship between officers and the Los Angeles community. 

"I have been on a number of boards and this was not the only one where a termination was involved and anytime you are making a recommendation to a police chief that will change someone's life so greatly you always have concern," said Phil Tingirides. "But never did I think somebody would go to this extent in their rage over the discipline that was handed out to them."

Dorner wrote in his manifesto that Tingirides took part in his wrongful termination for reporting what he claimed was misbehavior by officer Teresa Evans, who was a "personal friend of Evens from when he was her supervisor at Harbor station."

"That is a clear conflict of interest and I made my argument for his removal early and was denied," Dorner wrote. 

Phil Tingirides has served the department for about 33 years, and Sgt. Emada Tingirides said she has worked in multiple Los Angeles police department divisions for the past 18 years. 

Police believe Dorner started his murderous vendetta in the parking lot of an Irvine condominium complex where Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence were found shot to death in their car Feb. 4. The first murders occurred just down the street from the Tingirides residence. 

Phil Tingirides recalled the moment he got the phone call warning him he and his family were on Dorner's revenge list. He immediately called his six children, ranging from 10 to 24 years old, and his wife.

Sgt. Emada Tingirides said it was a day she will never forget.  

"I literally stopped the vehicle because I could hear the fear in my husband's voice," she said. "My initial thought was one of our children passed away because I have never heard that level of fear in my husband's voice."

Dorner served on the L.A. Police Department for less than one hundred days, according to Emada Tingirides. In that time he reportedly experienced multiple counts of racism and corruption and insisted he was wrongfully terminated from the department. 

Phil Tingirides said that he received a call sometime after the hearing, about a year ago, from the Las Vegas Police Department concerning Dorner. 

"They said they had an LAPD officer in custody who claimed to work the Southwest division," said Tingirides. "I recognized the name and it just happened to be Dorner."

The captain did not remember what Dorner was held for, but said the ex-cop was still using police identification and Tingirides told the Las Vegas officers Dorner was no longer a police officer and to take his police ID cards.  

Emada Tingirides only had a single conversation with Dorner in 2007, when he expressed his frustrations about his disciplinary process. Her husband had never met Dorner before the disciplinary hearing and never spoke with him after the unanimous decision to release him from the department. 

The couple was shocked to learn that they were prime targets on his list years later. 

“I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own, I’m terminating yours,” Dorner wrote to the targeted officers in his manifesto. 

"I've had a number of threats I've been shot at, and you accept that, it's all part of it, but when you get a phone call and they tell you that someone is after your family and within a very short distance of your home and they've already killed someone else's daughter, it made me sick to my stomach," said Phil Tingirides. 

Emada Tingirides said that she was also "sick to her stomach" when she read the parts of Dorner's manifesto that claimed the LAPD was still in "the Rodney King era."

"It infuriated me because nothing could be farther from the truth," she said. "I haven never experienced racism in LAPD and that he justified the things he was doing with that claim and I knew in my heart that was false."

The family's six children plus a daughter's boyfriend spent almost a week under constant police supervision, playing board games, xBoxes and watching anything else but the media coverage on Dorner. 

(Sgt. Emada Tingirides speaking about her children/Brianna Sacks, Neon Tommy)
(Sgt. Emada Tingirides speaking about her children/Brianna Sacks, Neon Tommy)
One of the hardest things, said Emada Tingirides, was explaining the situation to their children.

"I told my 10-year-old daughter that a crazy man is trying to do really bad things to the captains in the police department," she said. 

But thanks to social media, the 10-year-old was able to ask her parents that evening if the same man who had killed Quan and Lawrence only a few streets away was the one "hunting them down."

"At that point we began to be very truthful and honest," said Phil Tingirides. "This isn't usually something you tell your kids. It became very real."

"We'd go into the garage and cry, because we didn't want our kids to feel the anguish and the hurt we were feeling," Emada Tingirides said.

Although the experience was difficult and traumatic for the Tingirideses, the couple said their family "truly bonded" throughout the many sleepless nights, despite the fact they were not sure whether the threat would last six months or two years.

"I recognize this is a part of what we do, but we really learned something good and positive through this. It brought our family closer together."

The couple thanked the Los Angeles and Irvine police departments for standing guard through the night, escorting their children to sports games and practices and helping the family retain some normalcy throughout their ordeal. 

Phil Tingirides concluded his story by saying that his brief encounter living in such fear gave him a better perspective about the community he polices in Southeast Los Angeles. Although only nine square mails, the are has roughly 45 homicides each year. 

"Some of the residents asked me why I was 'hunkered down,' because of this," said Tingirides. "And I realized so much more what it's like to live with the constant threat of violence. I have a better sense of how a lot of the community that we serve feels on a daily basis." 

Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage on Christopher Dorner. 

Reach Editor At Large Brianna Sacks here. 


 

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