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Networks are pulling back on the blanket coverage of a shootout near Big Bear Lake, Calif., with a man suspected of being alleged killer Christopher Dorner, honoring a request from the San Bernardino District Attorney’s office.
CNN, MSNBC and Fox News all broke into live coverage of a shootout between LAPD officers and Dorner, a fired police officer who has been charged with killing three people this month; he has evaded capture since Feb. 6. Networks, including CBS’ Los Angeles affiliate, were showing live images of the area, as well as broadcasting audio from the shootout. One deputy shot in the exchange has died, and another was in surgery, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office.
Wolf Blitzer told CNN viewers that law enforcement officials asked the news network to refrain from airing live video of the shootout from helicopters overhead, as the suspect might be able to use that information to escape. Blitzer told viewers the network was complying. CNN was using a tape-delayed feed from its local affiliate, a network representative said.
In an on-air interview with Blitzer, former LAPD commissioner William Bratton said speculation was that the suspect had access to a television in a cabin.
“They don’t want to take the chance of effectively giving away to the target of the operation moves they’re making,” he said. “He is a trained police officer. He has the additional benefit of military training. So he is well aware of some of the moves that are going to be made against him. And they’re just looking to lessen the visibility he has relative to those moves.”
Following the swarming of the cabin, and its subsequent bursting into flames, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News aired live aerial footage of the area.
The San Bernardino DA also asked reporters to stop tweeting live from the scene, as it was “hindering officer safety.” The local Press-Enterprise newspaper said that it was complying with the request. Additionally, the DA was limiting the information being disseminated in press conferences.
CBS stations in Los Angeles and San Francisco also agreed to stop tweeting details about the police operations, though they continued to tweet updates about the situation.
The shootout on Tuesday began after Dorner invaded a couple’s home and stole their car; that led to a chase with police, who were pursuing the vehicle on Highway 38, when the driver stopped at Glass Road and fled on foot into the forest.
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