Suspected LA Cop Killer Possibly Dead After Cabin Stronghold Is Engulfed in Flames
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California authorities on Tuesday engaged in a furious firefight with a man they believe to be Christopher Dorner, the suspected cop killer who declared war on the LAPD last week.
Two San Bernardino deputies have been shot and wounded, according to initial reports.
From The Associated Press:
A person believed to be the fugitive ex-Los Angeles cop sought in three killings exchanged gunfire with authorities in the San Bernardino Mountains on Tuesday, a law enforcement official said on condition of anonymity.
The officer requested anonymity because the officer was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation.
The officer told The Associated Press it’s believed Christopher Dorner committed a residential burglary of a cabin and had a couple tied up in the cabin. One was able to get away and make a call.
Authorities responded to the location and gave chase when Dorner fled in a stolen car. Gunfire was exchanged.
The area is in the Big Bear region where a search for Dorner has been under way since his pickup truck was found there Thursday.
San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman Jodi Miller said a stolen vehicle report from a residence was received at 12:20 p.m.
“The reporting party identified the suspect as looking like Christopher Dorner but that has not been confirmed,” Miller said.
UPDATE: CBS Los Angeles confirms that two deputies have been shot. As of this writing, it is unclear how serious their wounds are.
The firefight also appears to have died down, but the area is still swarming with armed police officers.
Earlier, when shots were being fired, a reporter with CBS Los Angeles picked up the explosive scene on his microphone. Screams, shouts, and dozens of gun shots could be clearly heard in the live report.
“Get the f**k out of here!” one police officer shouted to the CBS anchor.
Although no shots are being fired at this, CBS reports that every officer on the scene is alert, heavily armed, and “none of them have lowered their rifles.”
UPDATE II: Authorities say Dorner is holed up in a cabin in the Angelus Oaks, Calif., area.
Police have also requested that all media cameras be removed from the scene as they move in on the gunman’s position. This includes all news choppers. So, yes, they’re clearing the airspace over the cabin.
Lastly, according to several reports, the two wounded deputies have been airlifted out of the area and taken to a nearby hospital.
UPDATE III: It appears that the situation has turned into a tense standoff. We will bring you important updates as they become available.
UPDATE IV: LAPD Officer Andrew Smith, commander of media affairs, made a quick statement on the situation and took some questions from members of the press.
“LAPD sent resources to San Bernardino,” he said, adding that they are “waiting for authorization to assist,” but “only if asked.”
“We are continuing to work clues while events in San Bernardino unfold,” he said.
When asked by a reporter whether the gunman is actually Dorner, Smith answered, “Until we get this guy in custody — until in hand cuffs and in jail — we’re not going to know for sure.”
“Everyone is very hopeful that this thing ends without further bloodshed, he said, “the best thing for him would be to surrender and we can take him into custody.”
“If he is watching this, the message for him is, ‘enough is enough,’” he said. “”It’s time to turn yourself in. It’s time to stop the bloodshed. It’s time to let this bloodshed be over.”
Smith also stressed that there is nothing at this time to confirm whether Dorner has hostages with him in the cabin (contrary to earlier reports).
UPDATE V: CBS and Fox affiliates in L.A. and CNN are reporting that one of the two deputies injured in today’s firefight has died.
UPDATE VI: The cabin is now on fire and CNN is reporting that a SWAT team is using a heavy vehicle to breach the building.
However, CBS L.A. is also reporting that, based on tracks leading away from the cabin to a nearby horse corral, there is a small possibility that the gunman may have escaped. But that’s all speculation.
Also, it bears repeating: It is still unconfirmed at this time whether the gunman inside the cabin is actually suspected cop kill Christopher Dorner.
UPDATE VII: Per a CBS affiliate on the scene in Big Bear, Calif., police officers have started to relax, some even smoking cigarettes, and it’s highly unlikely that whoever is holed up inside the burning inferno (if there is indeed someone in there) is coming out alive.
“This may, in fact, be over,” said the CBS reporter.
Final Update: It looks like we’re one step closer to bringing this story to a close. From the L.A. Times:
A body was found inside the burned out cabin Tuesday night where Christopher Jordan Dorner was believed to have kept law enforcement authorities at bay before officers fired tear gas into the structure, a source told The Times.
The body, which was found in the charred rubble of the mountainside cabin, was not positively identified, the source said. The process of making a determination whether the body is that of the former Los Angeles Police Department officer could take hours or even days, the source said.
As authorities moved into the cabin earlier Tuesday, they heard a single gunshot.
Final Update II: Sorry, folks. False alarm.
In a troubling turn of events, the LAPD has put out a statement saying that no body has been extracted from the house and no one has been identified. As of this writing, it’s too hot for recovery teams to move in and look for the gunman’s remains (which, now that we think about it, makes complete sense. Apologies).
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Featured image courtesy Getty Images.
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