February 12th, 2013
11:45 PM ET

Police: Body found in cabin in hunt for Dorner

  • Person believed to be renegade ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner killed deputy, wounded another in shootout at California cabin Tuesday, authorities say
  • Hours later, SWAT team stormed cabin, which caught fire; sheriff's department says suspect believed dead
  • Police: Encounter came after suspect, in stolen vehicle, exchanged gunfire with warden, and then fled to cabin in San Bernardino National Forest
  • Dorner was subject of seven-day manhunt, suspected in three other deaths
  • We'll have updates below as we get them; full story here; also see KCAL/KCBS, KABC, KTLA.

[Updated at 3:43 a.m. ET Wednesday] The San Bernardino Sheriff's Office said early Wednesday morning that investigators have located charred human remains in the debris of the burned-out cabin where law-enforcement officers exchanged gunfire with a suspect believed to be Dorner.

The sheriff's office said the body has not been identified, and that identification will be attempted through forensic means.

[Updated at 12:33 a.m. ET Wednesday] New details about the suspect's encounter and shootout with game wardens before the shootout with sheriff's deputies at the cabin: Game wardens saw the suspect in two vehicles Tuesday.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Patrick Foy says two game wardens first chased the suspect as he was driving a purple Nissan in the San Bernardino National Forest. The wardens, in a patrol truck, had been told to look out for the Nissan, and they saw it driving in the opposite direction behind two buses.

Foy says the wardens did a U-turn and tried to follow the Nissan, but they lost him. Authorities now believe the suspect passed the buses and turned onto a different road, called Glass Road.

Later, three different wardens in two vehicles were driving on Glass Road and saw a white pickup truck traveling erratically toward them. One of the wardens believed he saw Dorner driving the truck.

The truck's driver fired a gun at one of the wardens' vehicles, Foy said. A warden got out and returned fire as the suspect drove away.

Foy said no warden was injured. He said he didn't know whether the suspect was shot.

Authorities say they believe the suspect ditched the second vehicle and entered a cabin, where he eventually exchanged gunfire Tuesday afternoon with San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies, killing one and wounding another.

Hours later, according to police, a SWAT team stormed the cabin, which caught fire after police detonated smoke devices inside the structure, a law enforcement source told CNN.

The San Bernadino County Sheriff's Department says it believes a body is in the cabin, but investigators have yet to examine the cabin because it was still smoldering.

[Updated at 11:45 p.m. ET] The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department is echoing the LAPD's refutation of reports that Dorner's body was found in the burned cabin, but it acknowledges investigators believe a body is there.

"We believe (the suspect) is still inside the cabin that caught fire," SBSD spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said.

Later, she said, "(Investigators) believe a body is in there," but that investigators still haven't been inside the cabin to look for one.

"It is too hot. (It's) still smoldering" and not safe to enter, Bachman said, adding that officials believe there still is live ammunition in the smoldering cabin.

"We believe that the person that barricaded himself inside the cabin and engaged in gunfire with our deputies ... is still inside there even though the building burned," she said.

[Updated at 11:13 p.m. ET] Los Angeles police are now contradicting media reports that a body was found in the cabin.

No such thing was found in the cabin, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman told reporters moments ago, because cabin is still burning and is too hot to search.

The spokesman said the LAPD will continue to protect the LAPD officers that Dorner - accused of targeting police officers because he the LAPD fired him in 2008 - allegedly identified as potential threats in a letter made public last week.

[Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET] We're awaiting a news conference from authorities regarding today's events. Could happen quite soon.

[Updated at 10:02 p.m. ET] A body believed to be that of Christopher Dorner has been pulled from the burning cabin, multiple law enforcement sources tell CNN contributor Tom Fuentes. The sources say they were told this by LAPD.

Law enforcement personnel will conduct a forensic exam to identify the body, the sources say.

[Updated at 9:53 p.m. ET] Some details on the surviving deputy who was wounded in today's shootout at the cabin: That deputy still is in surgery and is expected to live, San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller says.

That deputy was one of two deputies who were wounded in a shootout at the cabin in Califorina's San Bernardino National Forest on Tuesday afternoon. The other deputy was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital, authorities said.

The names of the deputies have not been released.

[Updated at 9:40 p.m. ET] The Los Angeles Police Department has scheduled a media briefing at midnight ET.

We're still waiting for details about the fire at the cabin, which began more than two hours ago.

[Updated at 9:14 p.m. ET] Earlier, we reported that U.S. Marshals Service district chief Kurt Ellingson told us a suspect tried to get out the back door of the cabin at some point today and was pushed back inside. But there are now conflicting reports about whether the suspect ever emerged.

Ellingson says authorities are not sure whether the suspect came out.

[Updated at 8:52 p.m. ET] Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa tells reporters that "on behalf of the people of Los Angeles, our hearts and prayers are with the San Bernardino deputy who was shot and killed today."

"Our prayers are with the family, with the people of San Bernardino, with the police and the sheriff’s department of that county. I want to thank them for their bravery.”

The suspect, Dorner, was a Los Angeles police officer from 2005 to 2008.

[Updated at 8:44 p.m. ET] Personnel are clearing a road so that firefighters can extinguish the flames at the cabin, authorities familiar with the operation.

[Updated at 8:34 p.m. ET] At some point today, a suspect tried to get out the back door of the cabin, but he was pushed back inside, U.S. Marshals Service district chief Kurt Ellingson told CNN's Brian Todd.

We're still waiting for details about the fire at the cabin, which began about an hour ago.

[Updated at 8:19 p.m. ET] Kyle Martin, son of the cabin's owner, says six cabins are on the 10-acre property. Martin says he believes the suspect barricaded himself in the main cabin, behind which the five smaller cabins exist.

[Updated at 8:09 p.m. ET] Kyle Martin, son of the cabin's owner, told CNN that he believes no one was staying at the cabin Tuesday before the suspect entered it.

[Updated at 8:07 p.m. ET] More details on the authorities' recent assault on the cabin, which is on fire: It's not clear whether the suspect is still in the cabin, but the area is surrounded by law enforcement personnel, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said.

No one is allowed to go near the fire, including fire department personnel, she said.

"There was active gunfire before the fire" between the suspect and law enforcement, she said. Bachman said she was not aware of any communications with the suspect.

[Updated at 7:57 p.m. ET] The cabin is indeed on fire, but authorities aren't sure whether Dorner is inside, a San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman said.

Authorities also aren't certain that Dorner was the person they chased to the cabin and fatally shot a sheriff's deputy, but that the suspect has been described as looking like Dorner and "we have reason to believe that it is him," she said.

She added that she's not aware of any hostages at the cabin.

[Updated at 7:46 p.m. ET] Back to the casualties in this afternoon's shootout: After confirming that one of two wounded deputies had died, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said the second deputy was in surgery, "but he should be fine."

That shootout was a few hours ago; we're still awaiting details of what law enforcement sources say was a separate police assault on the cabin that began about 30 minutes ago. The cabin still is on fire.

[Updated at 7:43 p.m. ET] While we're awaiting information about what law enforcement sources say was a police assault on the cabin, here's some details about the vehicle that the suspect allegedly stole:

A friend of the vehicle's owner tells CNN that a man, who police believe was Dorner, emerged from the woods in the Big Bear Lake area Tuesday and pointed a gun at the owner, who was in the vehicle with his dog.

The gunman ordered the owner and the dog out of the vehicle, and then drove off with it, the friend said, citing the owner.

The carjacking was then reported to police, leading to this afternoon's events. A recap: Police say they found the suspect driving the stolen vehicle about 5 miles to the southeast (actually a 27-mile drive around Sugarloaf Mountain), and the suspect ran into the woods and entered a cabin, where a shootout involving the suspect killed one officer and wounded another.

[Updated at 7:33 p.m. ET] More details on authorities' current assault on the cabin: Fire, as well as smoke from devices that the officers detonated, have engulfed the structure, according to authorities familiar with the operation. Ammunition is exploding inside, the sources said.

[Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET] One of two sheriff's deputies shot Tuesday by a man suspected to be Dorner has died, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon told reporters at California's Loma Linda University Medical Center.

[Updated at 7:26 p.m. ET] The cabin appears to be on fire. Authorities began an assault on the structure minutes ago.

Authorities have penetrated the structure and were bringing equipment to tear openings into the cabin, a source familiar with the operation said.

[Updated at 7:22 p.m. ET] Black smoke is rising high in the air from the cabin area, video from CNN affiliate KABC shows. The video appeared to be taken from a distance; authorities had asked news helicopters to keep well away.

[Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET] Authorities have launched tear gas at the cabin, and a tactical operation is under way, Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes tells CNN.

[Updated at 7:18 p.m. ET] A California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman says he believes one of his agency's game wardens was the first law enforcement official to confront the suspect in the stolen vehicle, and exchanged gunfire with him.

The game warden was on patrol and saw the vehicle approaching in the Big Bear area, the spokesman said. The warden got out of his vehicle and fired at the suspect, the spokesman said. It's not clear from the spokesman's interview that the suspect left his vehicle at that point.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department says the suspect left the stolen vehicle Tuesday afternoon as authorities confronted him, ran into a forest and eventually entered a cabin, where a shootout happened.

[Updated at 7:08 p.m. ET] A little more on the geography: The area where the suspect got out of the vehicle and fled into the San Bernardino National Forest (and then into a cabin) is about 5 miles southwest, as the bird flies, of the spot where the vehicle was reported stolen near Big Bear Lake. But the most direct series of roads between the two locations is about 27-mile drive around Sugarloaf Mountain.

[Updated at 6:46 p.m. ET] One of the two law enforcement officers hurt in today's shootout has died, CNN affiliates and the Los Angeles Times have reported. The Times cited law enforcement sources.

We're awaiting a news conference at the medical center.

[Updated at 6:42 p.m. ET] We're about to get an update on the two injured sheriff's deputies. A news conference is expected to begin shortly at California's Loma Linda University Medical Center.

[Updated at 6:19 p.m. ET] A reporter with CNN affiliate KCBS captured audio of gunfire during an encounter between police and the suspect. It's unclear which party was shooting during the audio recording, which runs for more than a minute. Here it is:

[Updated at 6:19 p.m. ET] Aerial footage from KCAL and KCBS shows officers stopping and checking the interiors of vehicles on a road in the Big Bear area.

[Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET] LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith tells reporters that authorities aren't 100% sure that the suspect in the cabin is Dorner, but they believe it's him.

"The likelihood is that it is him, but we can't say for sure," Smith said.

Smith called on Dorner to surrender. "Everyone is very hopeful that this thing ends without further bloodshed," he said.

"If he's watching this, the message for (him) is enough is enough," Smith said. "It's time to turn yourself in. It's time to end the bloodshed."

Smith said authorities believe the suspect has access to TV. Smith asked television stations to not show live signals of the cabin area "because it puts our officers at a tactical disadvantage."

Earlier today, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon has asked that news helicopters pull back or leave the area of the barricaded suspect. (See 5:36 p.m. entry.)

[Updated at 6:03 p.m. ET] The two deputies who were injured in this incident have been airlifted to Loma Linda Medical Center, a San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller says. No information on their conditions has been released.

Moments ago, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith told reporters that the deputies were injured during the gunfire exchange between officers and the suspect at the cabin where the suspect barricaded himself. This squares with what a law enforcement source told CNN earlier.

Smith told reporters that LAPD officers are waiting for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department to give them authorization to assist in today's incident.

[Updated at 6 p.m. ET] We're expecting to hear from the Los Angeles Police Department soon. A news conference is expected to start in a few minutes.

[Updated at 5:36 p.m. ET] San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon has asked that news helicopters pull back or leave the area of the barricaded suspect.

"Gunfire is being exchanged between law enforcement and the suspect; your personnel are in danger and could contribute to officer safety on the ground," the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

[Updated at 5:22 p.m. ET] Authorities are now saying that a man believed to be Dorner exchanged gunfire with law enforcement officers after he barricaded himself inside a cabin Tuesday afternoon, the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department says.

Here's the sequence of events from the sheriff's department: Officers got a report of a stolen vehicle in the Big Bear area, and deputies responded to the area at 12:22 p.m. PT and began looking for the vehicle on the ground and from the air.

"The vehicle was located at Hwy. 38 and Glass Rd. The suspect fled into the forest and barricaded himself inside a cabin," the sheriff's department said in a statement. "A short time later there was an exchange of gunfire between law enforcement and the suspect. Sheriff's SWAT is on scene."

Two law enforcement officers are being airlifted to a local hospital with "unknown injuries," the sheriff's department said. Earlier, a high-ranking law enforcement source told CNN that two sheriff's deputies were wounded in a shootout.

[Updated at 5:16 p.m. ET] Authorities have ignited a smoke grenade in the Big Bear area of California to mark a location for police helicopters, a high ranking law official with knowledge of the investigation said Tuesday.

[Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET] Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes explains to CNN what law enforcement personnel usually mean when they say someone is "pinned down":

"The term commonly means he's not running any more, that they've got him trapped in a home or some other physical location ... . That means he's contained; that doesn’t mean he’s in custody ... but it means he’s not running loose."

Earlier, a high-ranking law enforcement source told CNN that authorities believe they have Dorner "pinned down" in California's Big Bear Lake area after a shootout in which two sheriff's deputies were wounded Tuesday.

[Updated at 5:09 p.m. ET] As a precaution, schools in the Big Bear Lake area are on lockdown, Big Bear Lake Mayor Jay Obernolte says.

[Updated at 5:06 p.m. ET] Authorities believe Dorner is "pinned down" in a rural area about 8 miles south of Big Bear Lake, California, the city's mayor told CNN.

Mayor Jay Obernolte says his thoughts and prayers are with the two deputies who police say were wounded in a shootout Tuesday with Dorner.

"If they were injured in the defense of our community, we owe them a huge debt of gratitude," Obernolte said.

[Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET, Wednesday February 13] We are reinstating these two posts from 5:06 p.m. ET and 5:09 p.m. ET that were previously removed because of internal miscommunication. The information and quotes were always accurate and from the mayor. We regret the error.

[Updated at 4:49 p.m. ET] Two sheriff's deputies have been wounded in a shootout with a suspect believed to be renegade ex-Los Angeles police officer Christopher Jordan Dorner, a high-ranking law official with knowledge of the investigation said Tuesday.

The source says the suspect, believed to be Dorner, shot the deputies as police responded to a report of a home invasion and a carjacking in the Big Bear area of southern California.

After police got a description of the vehicle, police set up a road block, and Dorner approached the officers, the source says. Dorner then opened fire, wounding the two sheriff's deputies, according to the source.

The official said Dorner was pinned down.

[Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET] The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department confirms that authorities were chasing a pickup truck, according to CNN's Casey Wian.

The department hasn't confirmed whether Dorner is connected to the chase. It did say that Dorner wasn't in custody, CNN's Chris Welch reported.

[Posted at 4:31 p.m. ET] Law enforcement officers are responding to reports that ex-LAPD officer Christopher Jordan Dorner has been sighted and may have been involved in a robbery in the Big Bear area of southern California, said law enforcement sources involved in the investigation.

Dorner - who indicated he was on a campaign of vigilante justice for what he believes was his unfair termination from the LAPD in 2008 - has been the subject of a seven-day manhunt as a suspect in three killings.

Dorner is accused of killing one police officer and wounding two others, as well as killing the daughter of his police union representative and her fiancé.

soundoff (1,814 Responses)
  1. john

    you mean to tell me in a state thats quite accustomed to fighting thousands of acres of forrest fires yearly they cant put out a cabin fire??

    Something stinks here & its definitely not the supposed charred body ..

    February 13, 2013 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
    • not what happened

      They let the cabin burn out because they didn't want to send firefighters to their death if Dorner happened to be alive in the building. I don't see how that doesn't make sense.

      February 13, 2013 at 5:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. Wellgnu

    I guess we're gonna need some new crazy people. They keep dying off.

    February 13, 2013 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Wellgnu

    I love how new comments appear in random places or not at all. Good idea. Wouldn't want to appear competent, would we?

    February 13, 2013 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
    • shawn poland

      and over on the disqus system they use on other stories they purposely delete the comments and put them back, so that it removes the likes, to make sure the comments closer to their agenda or way off the mark appear to be the most liked. if they play games like that then it makes it hard to believe in other 'stories' they tell. wars, guns, etc,etc,etc

      February 13, 2013 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. hopeitgoes

    So if Chris Dorner is a Domestic Terrorist, what does that make the Klu Klux Klan?

    February 13, 2013 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      It was easy to predict the fire, just as soon as it was it was reported that the surveilance helicopter was told to leave the scene. No close-up cameras for this scene! Opening a new hearing for him is likely witness tampering for coverup.

      February 13, 2013 at 4:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Domer had a tremendous amount of anger. His problem was that he had never learned a civilised and adaptive manner for using his anger for his own benefit.

    February 13, 2013 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Perhaps he could have killed more brown people. Or perhaps, he could have killed black people. Let us make it real

      February 13, 2013 at 4:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. Robert

    Yes,being relevant is not easy.

    Wrap me up in their bloomers.
    I already know what you need

    February 13, 2013 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. Earl Cactus

    For a guy so hell bent on killing LAPD, he sure did shoot at and kill a lot of cops that WEREN'T LAPD...

    This whole thing is for suckers.

    The media is SOUR, pass it on.

    February 13, 2013 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. bet105

    So they asked the tv/news to stay away. I am sure the madman excop had a police scanner. Glad this is over.

    February 13, 2013 at 4:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. MOCaseA

    Next in the Breaking News Segment:

    "Body discovered turns out to be another of the people on Dorner's hit list. Dorner still at large.

    February 13, 2013 at 4:49 am | Report abuse |
    • TTTM

      That is my theory. Dorner is still on the run. I was actually waiting on him to start taking out cops one-by-one while they were watching the cabin burn.

      February 13, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sick of larry and his ilk

    bigoted nonsense, brainfart !

    February 13, 2013 at 4:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. truth

    Dear CNN, can you change the 7:20 timeline to say RPG's instead of teargas............maybe just a little hint of the truth???, Its one thing to be a cop and order your department to burn a person alive, but to do it over an unsecure radio channel?......

    February 13, 2013 at 4:59 am | Report abuse |
    • funny

      They did use teargas first then set a fire. There were no RPG's so how would that be any more truthful?

      February 13, 2013 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
    • varaider

      And watch ^^^ this post ^^^ get deleted just like my last one, that stated the same things...


      February 13, 2013 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
    • funny

      Yeah it's a shame they burned down the cabin which was holding a man opening fire on police officers. What a shame. The guy KNEW he was going to get killed so I don't see the shocker here.

      February 13, 2013 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. NoJustice

    The justice system is broken. He did try right way first. I shared his pain. Police and court tried to kill him slowly by firing him from the job. His skill set is in that filed. He coundn't found other job. Without a job, he didn't have food to eat. God bless him.

    February 13, 2013 at 4:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Boo hoo

      So the dude got wrongfully fired...happens everyday to people all over the country. Doesn't mean you get a free ticket to go out and kill everyone. I have no sympathy for this guy whatsoever. Get over it and move on. God had no part in this mans actions.

      February 13, 2013 at 5:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Ernie Stroddard

      I was just wondering why an in training Police Officer would make a report against his Field Training Officer. Now I know he was trying to do the right thing. His olny problem was that he broke the thin blue line rule. Cops don't rat on other cops!!! If you learn anything it is don't do anything that would get another cop in trouble. Once the F.T.O. learns he is a rat, she will give him a bad report and they will lay that person off. Now I bet if you went to the FTO and asked her to pass a lie detector test, to see if she did kick the guy in the face. I will bet she would fail. In my opinion no one would have been killed if the cops (FTO) would not have written him up in the beginning..

      February 13, 2013 at 6:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Still no reason

      To go out and kill two civilians and two cops that aren't even affiliated with the LAPD that he had beef with. I really do not get how anyone has sympathy for this man, there is no reason for taking another persons life other then they are threatening to either take your life or one of your loved ones. Period.

      February 13, 2013 at 6:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Ernie Stroddard

      I agree with you, he should not have taken any lives, and he wood have been given at least life in prison. as a minimum.I was only trying to make the point that all cops can be trusted to do the lawful things they are required to do in their job. Cops are as crocked as some of the creeps they have to arrest. I know from first hand knowledge. All I was trying to say is that he messed up by rating out another cop, and I say the FTO is guilty of kicking a man in the face while he was down. That is what started the whole ball rolling.

      February 13, 2013 at 6:26 am | Report abuse |
    • moparb

      Yes, let's make a Martyr out of a murderer. He destroyed his chance for justce when he went on his rampage. Let's feel sorry for his victims not him. Only in America!

      February 13, 2013 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. chris/doublecross

    They killed him that's why they didn't cover his location not for his benefit but for theirs LAPD are murders

    February 13, 2013 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    I really hope that Dorner did not escape. If the charred body in the cabin is not Dorner, more innocent citizens will die because he's alive.
    The last thing that Dorner can be called is "a hero."

    February 13, 2013 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. ronvan

    PLEASE EXPLAIN!! HOW can anyone give support to this "murderer"? HE lost any kind of support or sympathy as soon as he killed another human being! WHY, did he not get an attorney? IF it was found that he was fired on "trumped up charges", he could have been rich! WHY is it that NOW the LAPD says they are "re investigating" the charges? Think they will continue with that now that it appears he is dead? Also, how can ANY business, police dept., etc. get away with saying " we will investigate ourselves"? Are we so "closeted" that WE expect they would "cut their own throats" if they DID find something wrong?

    February 13, 2013 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
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