I have been drawn to comparing two murderous violent incidents…one just this past week (Christopher Dorn, the former LAPD officer) and one 30 years ago (Gordon Kahl of North Dakota..a tax protestor and tax evader).
Dorn led law enforcement on a chase after he killed two police officers and the daughter of a police officer and her fiance. He fled into wilderness in the San Bernadino Mountains of southern California. He was tracked and pursued..even was thought to have escaped completely into Mexico …until yesterday when he was flushed from one mountain home after holding two women hostage. Then he stole a car and attempted to get away but was back into another cabin (after confronting law enforcement personnel) where he died in a firefight (killing another law enforcement officer in the process) and a fire was probably set by the law officers who were determined to put a stop to his murderous rampage The charred remains of a body will soon be indentified; his California drivers’ license was found in the ashes also.
CONTRAST: 1983: Gordon Kahl and several other of his followers were stopped north of Medina, ND by a roadblock set up by US Marshals Ken Muir and Robert Cheshire, assisted by other federal officers and some local police from Medina. A firefight broke out at that road block when Kahl, his son Yori and Scott Faul opened fire on the Marshals and the others.
Both Marshals were killed and Yori Kahl was wounded badly. There were some other injuries to law enforcement people as well. Gordon Kahl fled in a “borrowed car” and was pursued for weeks by law officers in the midwestern states clear down to Texas and Arkansas..known refuges for Kahl who had many people willing to help and protect him. Kahl was located at a mountain site in Arkansas in June 1983 and was involved in a final firefight where Kahl and the deputy who approached him inside a mountain cabin were shot ..probably killing each other simultaneously. A fire broke out at that cabin also and Kahl’s charred body was identified later.
It is curious how the circumstances in both pursuits of criminals with both of them being in a fire that would have caused their deaths without any gunfire. Incidents 30 years apart.
It is strange to think about the many similarities in both mens’ demises.
The definitive book on the Kahl case was written by James Corcoran who was a native of Casselton, ND and was a FORUM reporter in 1983. ( BITTER HARVEST by J. Corcoran)
I would make a prediction that there will be a definitive book written about Christopher Dorn also.
Both Dorn and Kahl did not want to be taken alive and neither one was.
Another intesting feature of both stories is that both had supporters who cheered them on as they fled from law enforcement. There were hero- songs written about Gordon Kahl that were played on many radio stations; a movie was made about Kahl in 1991 IN THE LINE OF DUTY: MANHUNT IN THE DAKOTAS which was based on Corcoran’s book.
The social media which did not exist at Kahl’s time has been full of encouragement for Dorn by the many who showed support for him and his situation.
We can expect to hear songs about Dorn and no doubt a movie made sooner than later probably before all the facts are in place.
Such is modern American culture….criminals can be big heros to a segment of the population.
** Yori Kahl and Scott Faul are serving life sentences in federal prisons…one in Indiana and another in Minnesota.