Officials: Christopher Dorner Presumed Dead Following Deadly Standoff
UPDATE: 11:31 p.m. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department now confirms that investigators have located charred human remains within the debris of the cabin. Identification will be attempted through forensic means.
SEVEN OAKS (CBSLA.com) — LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith says that despite earlier reports, Christopher Dorner’s body has not been recovered from a burned out cabin where he was reportedly holed up during a deadly shootout with authorities earlier today.
Cindy Bachman of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department says authorities have not yet been able to enter the cabin, but when they do, they believe they will find a body inside.
Dorner, who allegedly shot and killed his fourth victim — a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy — was barricaded inside a Seven Oaks residence for several hours Tuesday afternoon. He is also accused of shooting a second deputy, who was undergoing surgery after being airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center.
CBS2’s Carter Evans reported that tear gas was fired into the cabin before the fire broke out. A single shot was also heard at that time, according to CBS2’s Juan Fernandez.
During a news conference earlier in the day, LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith urged Dorner to surrender.
“Enough is enough. It’s time to turn yourself in. End the bloodshed,” said Smith, who also asked that media helicopters pull out of the area, as Dorner likely had access to a television. The San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office also asked that reporters in the area to refrain from tweeting during the standoff, but later removed the request from Twitter.
Dorner reportedly broke into a condo in the 1200 block of Club View Road and tied up two housekeepers — possibly days ago — before stealing their vehicle and fleeing the scene Tuesday afternoon. One of the victims was able to escape and alert authorities, who later recovered a rifle and possibly a can of gas. The residence, ironically, is located near the Sheriff’s outpost that was set up earlier this week as part of the search for him.
“The reporting party said the suspect took their vehicle and described the suspect as looking very similar to Dorner,” a Sheriff’s Public Affairs spokesperson said in a statement.
Dorner, who reportedly crashed a purple Nissan, was then spotted driving a 2008 four-door, white Dodge 4X4 truck around 1:30 p.m. Dorner and law enforcement officers then exchanged gunfire for several minutes on on Glass Road. Evans, who was reporting nearby, is safe despite loud gunfire that could be heard during his live report.
A SWAT team was called in to set up a perimeter once Dorner ran into a forested area and barricaded himself in the cabin.
Highway 38, as well as all roads in and out of Big Bear, were shut down for several hours.
Bear Valley Unified School District placed all four of its schools — Big Bear High School, Chautauqua High School, Baldwin Lane Elementary School and Fallsvale Elementary School — on lock down and an evacuation center was set up. All of the schools were expected to be open on Wednesday.
Authorities had recently reduced the number of law enforcement officers patrolling the Big Bear area from several hundred to just 30.
Dorner, 33, is accused in the revenge killings of 28-year-old Monica Quan and her 27-year-old fiancé, Keith Lawrence, in Irvine on Feb. 3.
He was employed as a Los Angeles police officer from 2005 to 2008, when he was fired for making false allegations against a fellow officer. Quan’s father, a former LAPD Captain, represented Dorner in the hearing that ultimately led to his dismissal from the force. Dorner was named as a suspect in the deaths of Quan and Lawrence on Feb. 6.
He was also wanted in the ambush murder of Riverside police officer Michael Crain, who was shot to death in his patrol car on Feb. 7. Crain’s partner was also critically injured.
Dorner’s burned out truck was found near Bear Mountain later that day.