Body found after Dorner manhunt
Christopher Dorner in a recent surveillance video at an Orange County hotel in a still image released by the Irvine Police Department. Photograph: Irvine Police Department/Reuters
Investigators have found charred human remains in a burned out cabin in the mountains above Los Angeles following a fiery standoff with a gunman suspected to be a fugitive former Los Angeles police officer, authorities said.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's department said that identification of the remains would be attempted using forensic analysis.
After a shootout and a forest standoff last night, Christopher J Dorner, the former Los Angeles police officer sought in the region's largest manhunt, was apparently killed in the cabin as it burned down around him - but officials had said they needed time to sort through the rubble.
Dorner, a self-described survivalist believed to be heavily armed, had holed up in the rental cabin hours earlier and engaged deputies in a shootout, killing one deputy and wounding a second.
The dramatic chain of events, which included hostage-taking and a chase in vehicles and on foot, played out in the sun-dappled, snowy San Bernardino Mountains.
It was unclear how the fire at the cabin began, but the authorities said that no one escaped the blaze and that Dorner was believed to be alone inside.
Officers, shouting orders through loudspeakers for Dorner to surrender, heard what they believed to be a single gunshot from within.
News organisations widely reported that Dorner's body was found in the building, but a spokesman from the Los Angeles Police Department said Tuesday evening that they did not have the body.
Even after officers retrieve the body, it could take days or weeks to identify it, officials said.
Cindy Bachman, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County sheriff, said in an evening news conference, "We believe that he was still inside the cabin," but that it was not safe to enter because of the heat.
Both the suspect and the police were believed to have used smoke grenades during the shootout.
The two deputies who were shot were airlifted to nearby Loma Linda University Medical Center; the second deputy's condition was not disclosed Tuesday evening, but he was expected to recover.
The standoff drew scores of police officers and sheriff's deputies from surrounding jurisdictions, led by the San Bernardino Sheriff-Coroner Department.
The tension heightened as the day wore on, and local schools were locked down.
Law enforcement agencies ordered news helicopters to keep their distance for the protection of the officers involved. The sheriff's online feed to the department's radio scanner was shut down for the same reason.
Reporters were asked to stop posting updates on Twitter.
The police believed that Dorner was monitoring the news, and Cmdr. Andrew Smith, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, addressed him directly at a news briefing Tuesday afternoon.
"Enough is enough," Smith said. "It's time to stop the bloodshed and let this incident be over."
Officers had been searching the Big Bear area since last week, when Dorner's burning truck was found on a forest road. Dorner, a former reservist in the Navy, had boasted about his sharpshooting and survival abilities.
Days ago, Dorner apparently broke into a couple's home on Club View Drive, the authorities said Tuesday. The street is nestled beside a golf course in a community called Moonridge near Big Bear Lake. Dorner reportedly tied them up as his hostages and stayed out of sight until yesterday afternoon.
Shortly after 12 p.m. Tuesday, the authorities received a report of a stolen white pickup truck and a description that fit Dorner's. Soon after, he was spotted driving a white 2005 Dodge pickup by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.