Photo: CBS Los Angeles
Police believe the days-long hunt for the ex-cop accused of killing both police and civilians is finally over. There was debate late Tuesday night whether the charred body found in a burnt mountain cabin actually was that of Christopher Dorner, the ex-LAPD officer who has been on the run since last week. However, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office, it probably is. “We have reason to believe that it is him,” San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cynthia Bachman, according to The Associated Press, which reported the news early Wednesday morning. Dorner, who was reportedly fired from the department several years ago, is suspected of killing the daughter of an LAPD captain and her fiancé before shooting three police officers, one of whom died. In a creepy online manifesto he posted before allegedly killing former Cal State basketball coach Monica Quan and her fiance, Dorner declared war on the Los Angeles Police Department. He also claimed the department promoted one of the officers responsible for beating Rodney King in 1991 — a claim that has been proven false. Police believe he has been hiding out in the mountain resort town of Big Bear since last week. Police spent the end of last week and the weekend scouring the mountain top and searching empty cabins for any sign of Dorner. That search took a violent turn Tuesday after a Big Bear resident told authorities Dorner was in the area. The former LAPD officer allegedly broke into a nearby couple’s home, tied them up, and held them hostage for days, the LA Times reported. Dorner left the couple Tuesday morning, prompting the day’s chain of events, The Los Angeles Times’ L.A. Now blog reported Tuesday. A standoff between Dorner and police began when Dorner was spotted in a white pickup truck, which he crashed before fleeing into a cabin, according to the LA Times. Authorities immediately surrounded the cabin, prompting a shootout between them and Dorner, according to The Los Angeles Times’ L.A. Now blog. One San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy died as a result of the shootout, L.A. Now reported.The cabin Dorner escaped to was apparently an unoccupied rental. Its owner Candy Martin turned on the news Tuesday and was alarmed to see an empty cabin she owns surrounded by police, the LA Times reported.
“It’s quite shocking,” Martin told the LA Times. “I mean, it’s good and bad news. If it’s him, I hope they catch him and this horrible thing is put to rest. At the same time, who wants this happening on their property?”
At around 8 p.m. EST, the cabin caught fire for unclear reasons, although it was possibly due to tear gas, and became engulfed in flames.
There was much speculation Tuesday night that Dorner died in the cabin, however the LAPD said it hadn’t examined the cabin last night because it was still too hot. As of late Tuesday night the department remained on high alert.
However, as The AP reported early Wednesday morning, it appears police now believe Dorner did die in last night’s fire.
“Right, we believe, correct, we believe, we believe that the person that barricaded himself inside the cabin engaged in gunfire with our deputies and other law enforcement officers, is still inside there, even though the building burned, yes,” Bachman said, according to ABC News.
Tuesday’s shootout marked a climactic end to a dramatic search.
The LAPD offered a historic $1 million reward, the biggest in the department’s history, to catch the former cop.
That reward led to thousands of false tips, including one that shut down a downtown Los Angeles jail after authorities Dorner was trying to get inside the facility.
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