Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Ranger: I was carjacked by killer

Law enforcement authorities investigate the charred remains of a cabin in the southern California mountains (AP)

The man carjacked by former US policeman Christopher Dorner on a rural mountain road has spoken of his ordeal at the hands of America's most wanted man.

Clad in camouflage from head to toe and wearing a bulletproof vest packed with ammunition, ex-policeman-turned quadruple killer Dorner was just a few feet away, having emerged from a grove of trees holding a large assault-style rifle, ranger Rick Heltebrake.

As teams of officers who had sought the fugitive for a week were closing in, Dorner pointed the and ordered Mr Heltebrake out of his truck. "I don't want to hurt you. Start walking and take your dog," Mr Heltebrake recalled Dorner saying during the carjacking on Tuesday.

A short time later, police caught up with the man they believe was Dorner, surrounding a cabin where he had taken refuge after crashing Mr Heltebrake's truck in the San Bernardino Mountains 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

A gunfight followed in which one sheriff's deputy was killed and another wounded. After the firefight ended, a SWAT team using an armoured vehicle broke out the cabin's windows and began knocking down walls. A fire started, and later, charred remains believed to be Dorner's were found.

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said the fire was not started on purpose, adding: "We did not intentionally burn down that cabin to get Mr Dorner out."

His deputies lobbed pyrotechnic tear gas into the cabin, and it erupted in flames, he said. Sheriff McMahon did not say directly that the tear gas started the blaze and the cause of the fire was under investigation.

The sheriff said authorities had not positively identified the remains, but all evidence pointed to it being Dorner and the manhunt was considered over. A wallet and personal items, including a California driving licence with the name Christopher Dorner were found in the cabin debris, an official said.

Dorner, 33, had said in a rant that authorities believe he posted on Facebook last week that he expected to die, with the police chasing him, as he carried out a revenge campaign against the Los Angeles Police Department for sacking him.

Police said Dorner went on the run on February 6 after they connected the February 3 murders of a former Los Angeles police captain's daughter and her fiance with his angry manifesto. Dorner claimed he was the subject of racism by the department and was targeted for reporting misconduct within the department. Hours later Dorner shot at two LAPD officers, grazing one in the head, and then ambushed two Riverside officers, killing Officer Michael Crain.

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