A body believed to be that of Chris Dorner has been recovered from a burned cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains, ABC News confirms. The discovery comes following a shootout with police at the location before the structure burst into flames.
Authorities say the situation began at about 12:20 p.m. when deputies responded to the 1200 block of Club View Drive for a report of a stolen vehicle by a man matching Dorner’s description. Deputies immediately began a search of the area.
The vehicle was located at Highway 38 and Glass Road a short time later. The suspect fled into the forest on foot and barricaded himself inside a cabin. There was an exchange of gunfire between law enforcement and the suspect, leaving two San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies wounded. One deputy died of his injuries at the hospital. The second deputy was in surgery and was expected to survive, an official said.
Dorner is believed to have then holed up in a different cabin, at which a fire erupted, though it was unclear how the blaze began. Once the fire started, a single gunshot was heard from inside the cabin, followed by more sounds of gunfire, which authorities said could have been ammunition exploding.
Numerous law enforcement officers were at the scene. All vehicles on highways 38, 330 and 18 were searched in connection to the Dorner manhunt, but the roads have since reopened with the exception of Highway 38, which is open only to residents.
“If he’s watching this, the message for himself is, enough is enough, it’s time to turn yourself in, it’s time to stop the bloodshed,” said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith. “Let this incident be over.”
It is also believed Dorner committed a residential burglary of a cabin and had two people tied up in the cabin. One was able to get away and make a call. Police say the women did not require medical attention and were not hospitalized.
The area is in the Big Bear region where a search for Dorner has been under way since his pickup truck was found there Thursday. Authorities earlier said the search in Big Bear will continue until Dorner is caught, or it has been determined that he is no longer on the mountain. Big Bear Lake-area residents with surveillance cameras on their property were asked to check if they captured footage of the suspect.
A federal law enforcement source confirmed to ABC News that surveillance video of a man buying scuba gear at a Sport Chalet in Torrance on Feb. 1 was Dorner. The video was obtained by TMZ on Monday. Investigators are also looking into reports that Dorner checked into a Manhattan Beach hotel and wrote his manifesto there.
The LAPD said at a news conference Tuesday morning that it is looking into more than 1,000 tips from the public. Authorities raided a hotel in Tijuana, Mexico, on Monday night, hoping to capture Dorner, but he was not found.
“We had information early on that he had indications of going to Mexico, and so preparations were made to follow up on those leads,” said LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman.
In an affidavit, the U.S. Marshals Service says not only does it believe Dorner might have fled, but he may have had help. Security was extremely tight at the border, causing huge traffic backups. There have been no confirmed sightings of Dorner crossing the border or of him inside Mexico. The affidavit mentioned a possible associate of Dorner’s whose family member had property in Arrowbear Lake.
As the search for Dorner expands, the reward for information leading to an arrest is growing. Last weekend, the Los Angeles Police Department made history by announcing its biggest reward ever — $1 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the former LAPD officer and Navy serviceman. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a motion to add $100,000 to the reward. The County Board of Supervisors and the Riverside City Council are also considering an additional $100,000 each, and the Riverside County supervisors are also hoping to add another $100,000, which would bring the total to an unprecedented $1.4 million. That’s the largest bounty in Southern California’s history.
Though Dorner is still on the run and hasn’t set foot in front of a judge, he has been officially charged with murder. The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges against the fugitive for the murder of Riverside Officer Michael Crain and three counts of attempted murder of another Riverside officer and two LAPD officers. The charges would make 33-year-old Dorner eligible for the death penalty.
The separate shootings on the Riverside officers and LAPD officers happened early Thursday after Dorner became the target of a manhunt. Dorner was identified as the prime suspect in the killings of Monica Quan, a former LAPD captain’s daughter, and her fiancé, Keith Lawrence, in Irvine the previous weekend.
Dorner is believed to have posted an online manifesto last week declaring war against the LAPD for wrongly firing him. His rant posted on Facebook identified his targets in his revenge plan. The LAPD has since gone to extreme measures to protect the dozens of families and law enforcement officers mentioned in the suspect’s lengthy manifesto.
Authorities emphasize that Dorner is armed and considered extremely dangerous. If seen, do not attempt to contact him. Call 911.
Anyone with tips on Dorner is asked to contact the LAPD at (213) 486-6860