Chris Dorner: Did police set fire with intent to kill?
Tiffany is a writer and veteran's advocate. Her column...
DALLAS, February 13th, 2013 – The manhunt for ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner ended yesterday when fire consumed his final hideout. The military-trained suspect had allegedly sought refuge in the harsh elements of Big Bear, California’s near snow-covered ski areas. Dorner was accused of targeting law enforcement and their families in a revenge-inspired killing spree.
According to police, gunfire exchanges occurred after Dorner killed and injured deputies while evading capture. He reportedly barricaded himself inside a remote cabin and remained there as law enforcement surrounded his position. With the suspect inside, officials reportedly smashed windows and detonated tear gas or smoke canisters while urging Dorner to surrender.
Without reply, officials rammed the building with a special vehicle before hearing what they believed was a gunshot from inside. Flames systematically engulfed the structure, and though Dorner’s body has not been identified at this time, authorities confirmed no one escaped the blaze. Though the chase is over, analysis of the case will occupy investigative resources in the coming months.
As details are released, questions are emerging as to the origin of the cabin’s fire. The New York Times reported that the direct cause of the cabin fire was unknown while other outlets report “tear gas” and “smoke canisters” were deployed. Most outlets state simply that the “cabin caught on fire”, not that police officers intentionally set the cabin ablaze.
But as events were unfolding, journalist Max Blumenthal live tweeted a different narrative reportedly lifted from San Bernadino Sheriff Scanner Channel 7/8 via the 5-0 iPhone app.
The live feed Blumenthal catalogued appears to indicate officers had no intention of encouraging Dorner’s surrender. He wrote, “While media acceded to police demands not to provide direct details of stand-off w/Christopher Dorner, I used PD scanner transmissions to expose orders to burn his cabin hideout w/him inside. TL begins at bottom [sic].”
If the audio recording captured by Blumenthal is indeed from the incident, officers are overheard apparently discussing a pre-arranged arson attack. Per the audio, at around the one-minute mark, a male voice says:
All right, Steve (?), we’re gonna go, er, we’re gonna go forward with the plan, with, er, with the burn. We want it, er, like we talked about.
He then adds shortly afterwards:
Seven burners deployed and we have a fire.
A female voice responds:
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