BIG BEAR LAKE (CBS SF) — Along with a charred body believed to be that of fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner, authorities said Wednesday they found a wallet with his driver’s license and some personal items in the burned mountain cabin where he apparently mounted a last stand.
A shootout left a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy dead and another wounded, before the building erupted in flames on Tuesday afternoon.
It now turns out that as police searched the Big Bear Lake area of California for days, Dorner was hiding in a vacation cabin across the street from their command post. He took refuge there four days after starting a deadly rampage that would claim four lives.
Using everything from bloodhounds to helicopters equipped with high-tech search equipment in their manhunt, police had no idea Dorner was so close.
Their search finally ended Tuesday when a man believed to be Dorner bolted from hiding, stole two cars, barricaded himself in another vacant cabin miles away and mounted a last stand in the furious shootout that ended with his death in the burning building. It was not immediately clear how the cabin caught fire.
The San Bernardino County Coroner’s office was examining the charred remains Wednesday to positively confirm that the body was that of Dorner, but a nearby resident who was carjacked said he is certain it was Dorner. Rick Heltebrake said the man was armed with a large, assault-style rifle and wearing camouflage.
Dorner pointed the gun at Heltebrake and ordered him to get out of his vehicle.
“I don’t want to hurt you. Start walking and take your dog,”‘ Heltebrake recalled Dorner saying during the carjacking on Tuesday afternoon.
Heltebrake, with his 3-year-old Dalmatian in tow, said he heard a volley of gunfire erupt soon after when police had caught up with the man.
(Copyright 2013 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. Wire Services contributed to this report.)