An armed police officer directs traffic in Yucaipa,
California, during the manhunt for fugitive former Los
Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner. REUTERS/Alex
A former Los Angeles police officer linked to a killing
spree targeting police and their families is believed to have
died in a rural cabin that burned down around him in a fiery
end to a massive California manhunt, authorities say.
Police were awaiting forensic analysis to confirm that
charred remains found inside the cabin in the wooded hills of
the San Bernardino National Forest were that of 33-year-old
Authorities including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
said the man who had barricaded himself inside the cabin was
almost certainly Dorner.
"Almost everybody believes it is him, but at this point we're
not absolutely sure," Villaraigosa told CNN.
"There's a sigh of relief," Villaraigosa said. He cautioned,
however, that it could be "days, maybe even weeks" before
there is final confirmation that Dorner was dead.
Dorner had been the subject of a six-day manhunt across
southern California. He is believed to have made his last
stand in the cabin, where a gun battle ended in the death of
a sheriff's deputy and the wounding of another deputy.
Dorner is suspected of killing four people, including the
An angry manifesto posted last week on Dorner's Facebook page
claimed that he had been wrongly dismissed from the Los
Angeles Police Department in 2008. He vowed to seek revenge
by unleashing "unconventional and asymmetrical warfare" on
officers and their families.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Tuesday's climax to the
manhunt began when two housekeepers encountered a man
believed to have been Dorner inside a vacant cabin near the
ski resort community of Big Bear Lake.
They surprised the suspected fugitive, who tied them up and
then took off in a purple Nissan parked near the cabin.
One of the women freed herself and called 911, the newspaper
CHASE TO THE FINAL STANDOFF
State game wardens spotted the vehicle and gave chase. The
suspect crashed the car, then commandeered a pickup truck at
gunpoint from another motorist, said Lieutenant Patrick Foy
of the state Fish and Wildlife Department.
The suspect fired at the wardens from the window of the
pickup and one of the wardens stopped his truck and returned
fire with a high-powered rifle, Foy said. He said he did not
know if the suspect had been hit.
Foy said officers got close enough during the chase to
recognize the driver as Dorner before he abandoned the truck
and fled into the woods to the cabin.
During a lull in the gunfire, the cabin caught fire and was
quickly engulfed in flames.
Dorner's last confirmed encounter with authorities was on
Thursday, when police said he ambushed two policemen at a
traffic light in Riverside, about 60 miles (100 km) east of
Los Angeles. One officer was killed and the other wounded.
The former U.S. Navy officer is also suspected of having
exchanged gunfire on Thursday with police in nearby Corona.
One officer was wounded.
The hunt for Dorner began last Wednesday when police
identified him as a suspect in the slayings of a campus
security officer and his fiancee, the daughter of a retired
Los Angeles police captain. In his manifesto on his Facebook
page, Dorner blamed the captain for his dismissal from the
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