Official: Cleared Ill. cop waited to provide alibi

AP News
Posted: Oct 14, 2010 3:20 AM
Official: Cleared Ill. cop waited to provide alibi

The small-town police officer wrongly jailed for a shooting spree along the Illinois-Indiana border that left one dead waited until days after his arrest to provide law enforcement with a credible alibi, a sheriff's official says.

Attorneys for Brian Dorian have said he was the victim of a botched investigation by Will County detectives and prosecutors. But Pat Barry, a spokesman for the Will County sheriff, told The Associated Press that Dorian didn't provide specifics about what he was doing the morning of the shootings until Tuesday, four days after his arrest.

In an interview Wednesday, Barry also said that while there was no physical evidence linking Dorian to the Oct. 5 shootings, the circumstantial evidence seemed compelling and included a witness who identified Dorian as the shooter.

"You have all this circumstantial stuff _ and he won't tell you ... what he's doing," Barry said. "All Dorian would say is that he was watching TV _ and no further explanation."

Once Dorian revealed that he had been on the Internet the morning of the shootings, authorities examined his computer and were able to clear him, Barry said. The charge of first-degree murder that had been filed against him was formally dropped Wednesday.

Dorian's attorneys did not immediately respond to messages left about the matter late Wednesday. But they previously said authorities should have examined their client's computer much sooner _ even before his arrest.

Dorian's father, John Dorian, was skeptical of suggestions his son may not have been forthcoming. He said his son may have struggled to remember precisely what he was doing that morning.

"You're a policeman in prison falsely accused of murder," he said. "Your mind has got to be racing _ trying to remember what you did or didn't do that day."

Dorian was arrested Friday at his home in Crete after a search for someone who allegedly asked his victims about honeybees or construction material before pulling a gun. Dorian is an officer with the Lynwood Police Department, 30 miles south of Chicago, not far from where the shootings took place.

Barry dismissed concerns that authorities were no longer looking for the real gunman once Dorian was arrested. He said the sheriff's office took the unusual step of continuing to search for potential suspects because of lingering questions about Dorian, particularly from Will County Sheriff Paul Kaupus.

One of the victims, Rolando Alonso, 45, of Hammond, Ind., was shot fatally in the head while working for a construction company near Beecher, Ill. Another worker, Joshua Garza, 19, of Dyer, Ind., was wounded. A third worker escaped into a cornfield. Later Tuesday, a farmer, Keith Dahl, 64, was wounded near Lowell, Ind.

Barry said the worker who escaped into the cornfield picked a copy of Dorian's driver's license photo out of series of pictures. That witness also later singled him out of a police lineup, Barry explained.

A police officer and sheriff's deputy in Indiana also had stopped Dorian's light-color truck about an hour after the first shooting because it matched a description of the shooter's truck, Barry said. The witness also said the shooter wore a green top and jeans, similar to what Dorian was wearing that day, Barry said.

When Dorian flashed his police badge, he was allowed to go, Barry said. But when a composite sketch of the shooter was done later that week, the two law enforcement officials remembered stopping Dorian and thought he looked similar to the sketch, he said.

An examination of Dorian's computer showed he was online until 11 a.m. the day of the shootings. The first shooting, at a work site in Illinois, happened at 10:30 a.m. Ballistics from the gun in both shootings matched, meaning Dorian could not have been involved in the later one, authorities have said.