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Man mistakenly shot at during Dorner manhunt sues Torrance

June 18, 2013|By Richard Winton
  • David Perdue rests next to his wife Lyzzette in their Redondo Beach home two days after Torrance police rammed his truck and shot at him during the Christopher Dorner manhunt.
David Perdue rests next to his wife Lyzzette in their Redondo Beach home… (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles…)

A Redondo Beach man is suing the city of Torrance, saying police officers -- after mistaking his Honda Ridgeline pickup for a Nissan owned by ex-LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner -- slammed into his truck and fired bullets into the cab.

David Perdue was driving to pick up a friend to go surfing Feb. 7 when he was stopped by Torrance police and followed orders to turn around in a West Torrance neighborhood and head back where he came from, according to the federal lawsuit filed Monday.

He had driven less than 300 feet when another Torrance police cruiser broadsided his truck and then two officers opened fire, firing at least three rounds into the driver's side window of the Honda truck, Perdue's attorneys allege.

PHOTOS: Manhunt for ex-LAPD officer

The shooting occurred shortly after LAPD officers mistakenly opened fire on two women delivering the Los Angeles Times from a pickup truck in Torrance. Officers mistook the women for Dorner, who died several days later after a manhunt and standoff near Big Bear. Dorner killed four people, including three officers, authorities said.

The city Los Angeles reached a $4.2-million legal settlement with the women, who were near the heavily guarded home of an LAPD captain who authorities said was named by Dorner in an online manifesto.

The lawsuit filed by Perdue and his wife against the city of Torrance charges that city's police with violating his civil rights and using excessive force. In the lawsuit,  Perdue says he was stopped in his Honda Ridgeline and questioned why he was in the neighborhood. After he presented his identification, he was instructed to turn around and drive back north on Flagner Lane where he came from.

TIMELINE: Manhunt for ex-LAPD officer

But as Perdue, 38, drove north, he saw a second police cruiser approaching and pulled to the side of the road. The patrol car accelerated and suddenly turned and broadsided his truck, spinning it around and tearing off the rear axle, according to the lawsuit.

Perdue's truck's airbags deployed and he was thrown toward the passenger seat. The lawsuit, filed by attorney Todd Thibodo, alleges that officers then opened fire through the driver's side window, with bullets piercing the "side curtain airbags, past David's head and through the front windshield."

The officers say they did not see the driver, who does not fit Dorner's description.

WHO THEY WERE: Victims in the Dorner case

In a statement released shortly after the incident, Torrance police said officers believed the vehicle was fleeing the scene and saw a truck similar to Dorner's "suddenly leaving" the area. City officials initially said the vehicle veered toward the police cruiser and that they had to make a split-second decision after other officers had been shot by Dorner just hours before in the Inland Empire.

Attorneys for Perdue say he has yet to get his truck back from the city.


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