SAN DIEGO - UPDATED, 10 p.m. Eastern, February 12 - After many tension filled days in Southern California, the hunt for Christopher Dorner is over.
The body pulled from the cabin after a long afternoon standoff at a Big Bear cabin seems to be Dorner, however LAPD cautions it can take days to confirm identity. The cause of death has not been confirmed.
A SWAT team fired a flash bang device and entered the cabin, the culmination of a tense four hours in Southern California.
A single gunshot was heard inside the cabin; officers then moved in and additional gunfire could be heard. Smoke, then flames were seen a short time later.
The rogue Los Angeles Police officer engaged in a shootout after being confronted this afternoon in Big Bear, Caifornia following reports of a stolen vehicle being driven by someone resembling Dorner. After he crashed the vehicle, he fled into a nearby forest area. He exchanged gunfire with San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies, and wounded two of the officers involved. One of them died of his injuries a short time later; he has not yet been publicly identified.
“Enough is enough. It’s time to turn yourself in… it’s time to let this incident be over.”
At a news conference, Los Angeles Police Department Commander Andrew Smith asked fugitive Christopher Dorner if he was watching him on live television to end the siege apparently underway in Big Bear, California.
Commander Smith confirmed that law enforcement received a call shorly after 12 noon Pacific Time about a stolen vehicle from the 1200 block of Club View Drive, being driven by a man that resembled fugitive Los Angeles Police officer Dorner.
The vehicle was located and stopped at Highway 38 and Glass Road. After an exchange of gunfire, the suspect fled into the forest, and barricaded himself in a cabin. San Bernardino County (California) sherriff’s department officials reportedly exchanged additional gunfire. Two unidentified law enforcement officers were shot and wounded. They were airlifted out, one to Loma Linda University Medical Center and one to the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. As previously mentioned, one of the two officers has now died as a result of his injuries.
The owner of the cabin was reportedly shocked to see her property on live television. She told law enforcement they are “bare bones” with no running water or televisions, and that if someone is barricaded inside it is not all that likely they are watching themselves on TV. She said there are numerous windows that could provide a vantage point to see the law enforcement presence surrounding the cabin.
NBC 4 Los Angeles reports the owner rented the cabin this weekend, but they had been vacant for some time before then.
Amazingly the cabin is across from the command post where hundreds of law enforcement officers have been conducting a manhunt for Dorner in the Big Bear area since last Thursday.
Commander Smith said currently, 1,045 officers continue to work on all leads received on Dorner, and they continue to search and work leads while these events unfold.
Commander Smith cautioned news media that no one can be positive the suspect who stole the vehicle is in fact Dorner, though it is likely. “Until we get him in handcuffs and in custody we don’t know for sure,” said Smith.
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News organizations are being prohibited from getting too close to the scene. Air traffic control in the area is keeping news helicopters a minimum safe distance from the cabin, at a minimum of 10,000 feet.
Commander Smith said law enforcement is hopeful this episode ends without any further bloodshed. “The best thing would be for him to surrender and let us take him into custody. Until he is in custody, none of the people in our department are going to rest,” promised Smith.
Fallsvale Elementary School in Big Bear is on lockdown as a result of the standoff. Three other schools previously on lockdown have released all students to their families.
All roads in and out of the Big Bear area are closed pending further information. There are roadblocks at all major intersections and a massive police presence. More continue to arrive from agencies surrounding the area to provide manpower.
This could be the final chapter in the Dorner story as he hoped to write it, going out in a final blaze of glory on national live television. All television stations in Southern California have dropped their normal afternoon programming to cover the story live.
It is entirely likely that Dorner is fully aware of the media coverage and monitoring this personal drama firsthand. News anchors and reporters are being careful to point out that both their reports and their visual coverage are being coordinated with law enforcement so not to make the situation any worse, or place anyone in danger.
There are still many more questions than answers about the situation as it progressses.
Communities Digital News will continue to monitor. For live coverage, access the NBC 4 News website at this link.
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