BIG BEAR LAKE (CBS SF) — The intense statewide manhunt for a former police officer suspected of going on a killing spree ended Tuesday evening at a mountain cabin where authorities believe he barricaded himself inside, engaged in a shootout that killed a sheriff’s deputy and then never emerged as the home went up in flames.
A San Bernardino County Sheriff’s spokeswoman said late Tuesday night that human remains were found in the rubble of the burned cabin near the resort town of Big Bear Lake; law enforcement sources told CBS News that they were confident the charred body was that of fugitive Christopher Dorner, the most wanted man in California.
Dorner attracted a dragnet, with thousands of officers on the hunt across the state and a $1 million bounty on his head, after authorities said he was targeting cops and their families in a rampage of revenge for his firing from the Los Angeles Police Department. The former Navy reservist was believed to have killed at least four people.
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Until Tuesday, authorities didn’t know whether Dorner was still in the snow-covered woods near Big Bear Lake, where they found his abandoned pickup truck last week.
It was believed that Dorner broke into a house near where his truck was found and tied two people up before stealing their vehicle and fleeing about midday Tuesday. He was spotted by authorities around 1:30 p.m. and repeated gunshots were exchanged on Glass Road in the Big Bear area.
The gun battle was recorded by CBS News reporter Carter Evans, who was at the scene. A transcript of that audio as Evans reported follows:
“I hear some screaming. You heard all that gunfire. I see a team of sheriffs deputies in full-on fatigues running towards us right now. We are down on the ground behind the fields of our car right now with the doors open. I’m talking to you on speakerphone. We are right, right in the center of the action here. We are right where this is happening.”
Dorner, who escaped on foot after crashing the stolen vehicle, then holed up in the cabin. It became engulfed in flames following the afternoon shootout that left one San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy dead and another wounded. Tear gas was fired into the cabin, which was surrounded by police, before the fire broke out. After the flames erupted, a single gunshot was heard from within the cabin.
(Copyright 2013 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. Wire services contributed to this report.)