KNBC4 TV aerial image shows smoke and fire from a cabin
where fugitive former Los Angeles police officer
Christopher Dorner (inset) was believed to be barricaded.
A gunman thought to be an ex-cop who led California
authorities on a six-day manhunt barricaded himself inside a
mountain cabin northeast of Los Angeles and traded gunfire with
lawmen, killing one before the cabin burned to the ground.
Hours after the cabin went up in flames, Los Angeles police
said no body had yet been recovered from the smouldering
ruins, despite several media reports to the contrary, because
the site was "still too hot" for police to enter and search.
Left uncertain was the fate of the gunman who authorities
said earlier they presumed to be fugitive former Los Angeles
policeman Christopher Dorner, 33, suspected of a
revenge-fueled killing spree in the region.
The death of a sheriff's deputy in the shootout at the cabin,
located in the snow-covered mountains of the San Bernardino
National Forest, brought to four the number of killings
Dorner is suspected of committing.
An angry, rambling manifesto posted last week on Dorner's
Facebook page claimed he had been wrongly terminated from the
Los Angeles Police Department in 2008. He vowed to seek
revenge by unleashing "unconventional and asymmetrical
warfare" on law enforcement officers and their families.
Police tracked the gunman to the forest cabin after he broke
into another home near the ski resort community of Big Bear
Lake, tying up a couple there and stealing their pickup
truck, authorities said.
A state game warden apparently on the lookout for Dorner
exchanged gunshots with the driver of the stolen truck. The
vehicle was later abandoned and the driver fled into the
Officials of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department
said the gunman then barricaded himself inside another cabin
and engaged in a shootout with police as they closed in on
In addition to the sheriff's deputy who was shot and killed,
another was wounded, Sheriff John McMahon told reporters.
After a lull in the gunfire, the cabin suddenly caught fire,
and television news footage showed smoke and flames engulfing
the structure in a heavily wooded area.
San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman
said a "smoke bomb" had been set off at the cabin before the
fire started, but she was uncertain if it had been detonated
by the gunman or by law enforcement authorities.
"There is a subject barricaded in the cabin and at this time
that cabin is on fire," Bachman told an earlier news
"If there is someone inside the house, he is armed and
already killed one of our sheriff's deputies, so we're not
going to allow anyone to go near that house."
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has called the search
for Dorner the most extensive manhunt in the region's
Dorner's last confirmed encounter with authorities came early
last Thursday, when police said he ambushed two policemen at
a traffic light in Riverside, about 100km east of Los
Angeles. One of those officers was killed and the other
Dorner, a former Navy officer, is also suspected of having
exchanged gunfire on Thursday with police and wounding one
officer in nearby Corona.
Last Wednesday, he was named as a suspect in the slayings of
a campus security officer and his fiancee, the daughter of a
retired Los Angeles police captain. In the manifesto posted
on his Facebook page, Dorner blamed the captain for his
dismissal from the LAPD.
The couple, Keith Lawrence, 27, and Monica Quan, 28, an
assistant college basketball coach, were found shot dead on
February 3 in their car on the top level of a parking
structure in the city of Irvine, south of Los Angeles.
Quan's father, Randy Quan, had represented Dorner in
disciplinary proceedings that led to his dismissal after a
police inquiry found Dorner had made false statements
accusing a superior officer of using excessive force, police
Riverside County Prosecutors have formally charged Dorner
with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of
attempted murder in connection with Thursday's shootings of
Authorities posted a $1 million reward for information
leading to Dorner's capture, an amount they said was the
largest ever offered in a Southern California criminal