While people all over the country were fixated last week on the news about the former California cop who went on a fatal shooting spree, the story was particularly gripping for Utah State University assistant men’s basketball coach Tarvish Felton.
Although it had been more than 10 years since he last saw Christopher Dorner’s face, Felton said he recognized the man immediately when he saw his face on a television news report.
“It was a little surreal that someone I knew of would be involved in such a horrific event,” Felton said this week.
In 1998-99, Felton was a senior at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, where he played basketball for the school. That year, Dorner was just starting his college career on the football team there as a freshman.
“Cedar City was a lot like Logan, Felton said. “It is a small town, and everyone knows everyone. He (Dorner) took some psychology classes, and I was a psychology minor, so we had some classes together.”
They were never closely acquainted, but from a distance, Felton said Dorner was quiet, but seemed like a nice person.
Dorner, a former Navy Reservist and Los Angeles police officer, died last week after killing several people tied to the police department and sparking a manhunt into the mountains nearby.
He died Friday from what police say was a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound. However, there has been some speculation surrounding his death. As police closed in on him, they reportedly threw a tear-gas canister inside the cabin, which ignited and started a fire inside.
Felton was not prepared to speculate on what might have happened to push Dorner to such extremes.
He said he is just grateful the ordeal is over, so the violence can stop — and so the families of the victims could find maybe find some sort of closure.