Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Fugitive killer 'dead in cabin'

Ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner is wanted over four killings (AP)
Police officers man a blockade near the entrance to the San Bernardino National Forest in southern California (AP/The Sun, Gabriel Luis Acosta)
Law enforcement officials respond after fugitive Christopher Dorner engaged in a shootout that wounded two officers (AP/The Sun, Rachel Luna)

Charred human remains have been found in a burned-out cabin where a fugitive former police officer was believed to be, US police have confirmed.

The remains were found in the cabin in Big Bear Lake, California, after a shoot-out killed one sheriff's deputy and injured another, a spokeswoman said.

Authorities believe fugitive Christopher Dorner barricaded himself inside the cabin and a fire later started. Investigators will attempt to determine if the remains are Dorner's through forensic tests.

Thousands of officers had been hunting the former Navy reservist since police said he launched a campaign to exact revenge against the Los Angeles Police Department for being fired.

Police had been searching the snow-covered woods near Big Bear Lake, a resort town about 80 miles east of Los Angeles, after Dorner's car was found late last week. The LAPD say Dorner threatened to bring "warfare" to officers and their families, spreading fear and setting off a search for him across the south west of the US and into Mexico.

On Tuesday afternoon, deputies got a report of a stolen pick-up truck directly across the street from where police set up their command post on Thursday, not far from where Dorner's own pick-up was abandoned. The owner of the vehicle that was stolen had described the suspect as looking similar to Dorner.

A warden for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife travelling down Highway 38 recognised a man who fit Dorner's description driving in the opposite direction. The officer pursued the vehicle and there was a shooting in which the wildlife vehicle was hit numerous times and the suspect escaped on foot after crashing his truck.

After holing up in the cabin, there was a second gun battle with San Bernardino County deputies, two of whom were shot. One died and the other is expected to live after undergoing surgery. Big Bear Lake Mayor Jay Obernolte said of the deputy's death and the wounding of his colleague. "Words can't express how grateful we are for the sacrifice those men have made in defence of the community and our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families."

Police say Dorner began his run on February 6 after they connected the killings of a former police captain's daughter and her fiance with an angry Facebook rant they said he posted. Threats against the LAPD led officials to assign officers to protect officers and their families. Within hours of the release of photos of the 6ft, 20st Dorner, described as armed and "extremely dangerous", he unsuccessfully tried to steal a boat in San Diego and opened fire on two patrol cars in Riverside County, shooting three officers and killing one.

Dorner's anger with the department dated back at least five years, when he was fired for filing a false report accusing his training officer of kicking a mentally ill suspect. Dorner, who is black, claimed in the rant that he was the subject of racism by the department and fired for doing the right thing. He said he would get even with those who wronged him as part of his plan to reclaim his good name.

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