LAKE FOREST, CA -- Former classmates of Christopher Jordan Dorner recall an act of rebellion at Kennedy High School that gave insights into a personality now considered lethal.
On Facebook, one former classmate asked in amazement: “Is that the guy who flipped off Coach … during the game?”
Several classmates replied: “Yes.”
Friday, a clinical psychologist at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., confirmed the anger his classmates saw more than a decade ago.
“You see a very fine line between homicide and suicide here—narcissism and depression are highly correlated,” said Dr. Alan J. Lipman, the psychologist, and founder of the Center for the Study of Violence.
“You usually see them together. ...It wouldn’t surprise me if he kills himself.
“The other possibility is that he puts himself in a situation where he can be seen and caught—not because he wants to be stopped but because he wants to be seen and to confront his accusers.”
The ex-Navy, ex-LAPD officer wanted for the slayings of three people and an all-out assault on Southern California law enforcement is probably an extremely thin-skinned, narcissistic depressive as likely to kill himself as he is to be caught, said Lipman.
Dorner’s 11-page manifesto is a fairly coherent text that spells out his extreme rage and delusions of grandeur.
“In the manifesto, the terms that are repeated over and over again indicate that he is completely enraged and enraged at what he regards as the injustice of his firing and, most importantly as he sees it, how it has destroyed his name. And that is intolerable to him,” Lipman said.
“He describes himself as having been depressed for a number of years and sees himself as destroyed and unlikely to live through this episode. This is a person hopeless about life, hopeless and envisioning vengeance and going out in a blaze of glory.
“We have seen this before in cases such as Columbine.”
Someone with this degree of narcissism has likely always been highly sensitive to perceived slights as reflected in his manifesto, which alludes to ‘injustices’ going back to his childhood, Lipman said in a phone interview.
Dorner spent his childhood in La Palma, where he attended Walker Junior High and John F. Kennedy High School.
When contacted, several former classmates asked that their names not be published for fear of retaliation from Dorner.
Dorner was a football player on Kennedy’s Fighting Irish varsity team.
One classmate recalled Dorner’s tense relationship with the then-coach that ended with his removal from the team. Classmates say he had a reputation for being confrontational.
Most reacted with shock when they discovered their connection to the suspect.
According to his manifesto, Dorner’s life unraveled when he was fired from the LAPD in 2008 for making false statements against another officer.
According to Dorner, the proceedings that led to his 2008 firing from the police force were rigged against him.
He goes into detail about how his complaint against a fellow officer—now a sergeant—alleging brutality against a detainee resulted in his being the target of retaliation by superiors.
“I’ve lost a relationship with my mother and sister because of the LAPD,” he wrote. “I’ve lost a relationship with close friends because of the LAPD.
“In essence, I’ve lost everything because the LAPD took my name and knew I was innocent. ... The attacks will stop when the [Los Angeles Police] Department states the truth about my innocence.”
This idea that he could clear his name by going on a killing spree illustrates just how delusional Dorner has become, Lipman said.
“You can see he has delusions of grandeur. He envisions that he is going to change the entire course of justice and the moral code of the LAPD,” Lipman said.
If Dorner is still alive, his mind is likely a battlefield in which rage, guilt and attraction to media attention war with one another, Lipman said.