Manhunt For Fired LAPD Officer Appears Over
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renée Montagne. It appears to have been a fiery end for a former LAPD officer bent on revenge against his former colleagues. Law enforcement officials here in Southern California believe it was Christopher Dorner who engaged officers in a dramatic gun battle in the mountains east of Los Angeles yesterday.
And then barricaded himself inside a cabin that later burned to the ground. Charred human remains have been found at the site, but as of late last night, authorities are not confirming that those are the remains of Dorner. He has allegedly killed four people. NPR's Kirk Siegler is at a law enforcement command post in the San Bernardino mountains. Good morning.
KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Good morning Renee.
MONTAGNE: OK. So no confirmation that Christopher Dorner is dead, but what do we know?
SIEGLER: Well, as you said, the latest is that authorities have found charred human remains at the site of the burned down cabin. They think that because a suspect matching Dorner's description fled a stolen vehicle near here and took off on foot into the forest to that cabin where he then holed himself up inside.
Here's Cindy Bachman of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office.
CINDY BACHMAN: We had reason to believe that that was Christopher Dorner because the victims of the car theft said that the suspect that stole their car looked like him. And his actions, after stealing the vehicle, led us to believe, even stronger, that it was him. We have not confirmed that it is him.
SIEGLER: So the shootout ensued and then really the dramatic series of events continuing to unfold with authorities reportedly breaking down windows of the cabin, firing tear gas into it. It's believed they used a loud speaker to urge the suspect to surrender. Then the cabin caught fire and there was a report later of a single gunshot being heard.
I should say as well that we don't know yet how the cabin caught fire but it's clear that authorities believe Dorner was in the cabin. They're of course still not confirming that, Renee. Investigators were at the scene, working through the night and they're not letting us or anyone past the roadblock here as this investigation is continuing.
MONTAGNE: So let's back up a bit, Kirk. Tell us how this man, who officials suspect was Dorner, got to that cabin.
SIEGLER: You know, Renée, it appears Dorner was in these mountains this whole time, even as many had begun to suspect he had fled this area, and may have gone even as far as Mexico. It was yesterday around midday that authorities in Big Bear, up the mountain from here, responded to a stolen vehicle - reports of a stolen vehicle.
And a man driving it who matched Dorner's description. Agents with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife spotted him and began to trail him. I've got some tape to play. You hear from Lieutenant Patrick Foy of the department.
He's describing how game wardens came onto the suspect, recognized who he was, and saw him as he was apparently driving erratically.
LT. PATRICK FOY: The suspect rolled his window down and when the second patrol truck came up with the two wardens inside, that's when he engaged in a shooting with our wardens as they were driving. He did hit the truck multiple times.
SIEGLER: From there, Renée, there's really, frankly, still a bit of a hole in this story. The details aren't yet clear but what we know is that the suspect matching Dorner's description later left the vehicle he was in, and authorities trailed him as he took off on foot, as I said, into the forest and holed himself up in that cabin up there.
MONTAGNE: And, you know, just finally a very sad note. During the gunfight at the cabin yesterday, two Sheriff's deputies were shot. One died. Do you have any details, this morning, on that?
SIEGLER: Yes. Both were sheriff's deputies here in San Bernardino County. They were taken down the mountain to Loma Linda Medical Center. One did die. The other was in surgery. Medical personnel say he's expected to survive.
You know, later today is the memorial service planned for another slain officer that authorities believe Dorner killed in Riverside last week. It's a reminder of the costs of all of this. Four people dead, two officers now.
And also a couple, including the daughter of a man who represented Christopher Dorner when he was dismissed from the LAPD. His dismissal, apparently the trigger that sent him on this killing spree.
MONTAGNE: Kirk, thanks very much.
SIEGLER: Thank you. Glad to do it.
MONTAGNE: NPR's Kirk Siegler is at a law enforcement command post in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles.
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