Local Salvation Army's camp at Big Bear shut down as a precaution during massive manhunt

Camp staff sent home due to Dorner search

SAN DIEGO - The search for homicide suspect Christopher Dorner in the Big Bear area disrupted activities at a campsite that belongs to the Salvation Army Sierra del Mar in San Diego.

Captain Ken Perine said the moment the Salvation Army got word of the massive manhunt, they responded.

"Our camp staff up there acted quickly. They locked down the camp, closed all the gates," explained Perine. "Last night, they actually asked people who reside there to barricade themselves inside and our staff did so."

The camp, called Pine Summit, is a 42-acre site complete with a lake, athletic fields and climbing course. It is home to the Salvation Army's summer camp for underprivileged kids, but during the rest of the year, it is rented out to private groups.

"We don't want to take any chances with the people who come to visit us or with our staff," said Perine.

During the search for Dorner, there was a group visiting that left quickly. The camp is next to the ski resort area which law enforcement officials said they has scoured.

"Our SWAT officers are up on that mountain looking for him," said San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon during a news conference on Friday. "We've brought additional resources from other areas in the county to help patrol this area."

Authorities said there is no reason to think Dorner is near there, but as a precaution and also because of the snowy weather, Perine said the Orange County group slated to use the camp this weekend has canceled.

"It's best that we close camp down for the next few days until the police finish what they're doing," said Perine.

Perine, a Marine veteran, said challenging situations for people are not new to the Salvation Army. In fact, he said offering comfort to uneasy residents is part of what they do.

"If they're in a jam, we're there for them. If they're nervous, if they're concerned, we're there for them," said Perine.

The camp's roughly 40-member staff has been told to go home. During the peak summer months, there would have been about four times that number.

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