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Charles Montaldo

Massive Manhunt Ends in Flames

By February 12, 2013

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The massive manhunt for a former Los Angeles police officer charged with murder of a LAPD officer has apparently come to a fiery end at a cabin near Big Bear Lake. Christopher Dorner, who vowed to seek revenge on those he believed were responsible for his wrongful termination from the LAPD, was believed to be barricaded inside a cabin that burned to the ground after a deadly shootout with law enforcement.

With police forming a double perimeter around the cabin, and media helicopters circling nearby, Dorner did not emerge from the surrounded cabin as it went up in flames.

After nine days of searching for Dorner, deputies received a report of a stolen pickup truck Tuesday shortly after noon in an area where Dorner's own truck was found burned out last week. A Fish and Wildlife warden spotted a man fitting Dorner's description driving the pickup.

Cabin Goes Up in Flames

When the warden followed the truck, the Department of Fish and Wildlife truck was hit multiple times by gunfire. The suspect however crashed the stolen pickup and ran away on foot and into a nearby cabin. shortly after noon Tuesday.

After barricading himself inside the cabin, the suspect got into another shootout with San Bernardino County deputies. Two of the deputies were shot; one died and the other underwent surgery and is expected to live.

As the sun began to set over the Big Bear valley, smoke began to rise from the cabin. Flames began to engulf the structure and no effort was made to extinguish the fire. One report said a single gunshot was heard from the cabin just before the smoke was spotted.

Massive Manhunt Ends?

Police sources said Dorner had been holed up in another cabin where he tied up a couple after breaking in. One report said when he left the cabin, they freed themselves and called 9-1-1, setting off the events of Tuesday.

A record $1 million reward had been offered for information leading to the capture of Dorner and police had traced hundreds of leads as the manhunt intensified throughout southern California. Four people have been killed and four others wounded since Dorner began his attacks Sunday, Feb. 3. Three civilians have been injured by police in cases of mistaken identity.

Dorner was charged with murder under special circumstances in the shooting death of police officer Michael Crain, 34. As a result, he could have faced the death penalty if had been convicted of the crime.

Retaliation for Termination

The official charges gave police the authority to arrest Dorner on sight, without having any other probably cause, Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach told reporters.

Police believe that the 33-year-old Dorner was trying to kill LAPD officials and their families who he blames for his 2008 firing. The attacks began with the shootings of a retired captain's daughter and her fiance in Irvine. The captain, Randal Quan, represented Dorner at his LAPD review hearing.

Dorner's motivation for the shootings were outlined in a lengthy manifesto that he apparently published on his Facebook page three days after the shootings began. The post has since been removed from Facebook, but can be seen on the KABC website.

Couple Ambushed in Parking Lot

On Sunday, Feb. 3, shortly after the end of the Super Bowl, the bodies of Monica Quan, 28, and her fiance, Keith Lawrence, 27, were found in a car in the parking lot of their Irwin apartment complex. Quan was an assistance coach for the California State University, Fullerton women's basketball team.

Three days later, on Wednesday, Feb. 6, Dorner implicated himself in the murder of Quan and Lawrence in his Facebook manifesto. He was officially named a suspect in the Irvine murders.

Later that day, police believe that Dorner tried to steal a boat from a San Diego marina, telling the captain that he could retrieve his boat from Mexico. The attempted failed, however, when the bow line of the boat became tangled in the propeller.

Deadly Encounters

Police began to make patrols in the areas in which people named in Dorner's manifesto lived. Two LAPD officers were in Corona on such a patrol in the early morning hours of Thursday, Feb. 7, when they spotted a pickup truck that looked like Dorner's a began following it. The driver opened fire on the officers, grazing one of them in the forehead.

Shortly thereafter, a gunman believed to be Dorner opened fire on two Riverside police officers who were stopped at a traffic light at Magnolia and Arlington Avenue. Officer Michael Crain was killed and the other officer wounded and had to undergo surgery.

Innocent Bystanders Injured

Around 5:30 a.m. Thursday, police spotted a vehicle they thought was Dormer's and opened fire. The vehicle turned out not to be Dormer's. One of the people in the car was shot twice in the back while the other suffered a gunshot wound to the hand. Both were hospitalized.

The two women were delivering newspapers in a blue pickup truck, which was "riddled with holes" according to reports. The LAPD has arranged to provide the women with a new truck.

Later Thursday, David Perdue, was on his way to the beach when a Torrance police cruiser slammed into his vehicle and police officers opened fire. Perdue, a baggage handler at LAX, was not wounded by gunfire, but injured in the collision.

His attorney said Perdue, who is a slender white man, looks nothing like the fugitive Dorner who is black and heavy set.

The Big Bear Search

Around noon on Thursday, Dorner's actual pickup truck was found abandoned and in flames in the woods near Big Bear Lake. The discovery set off a massive door-to-door search of the area in the snow throughout the weekend.

On Sunday, Feb. 10, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced that the joint task force was offering a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Dorner. It was the largest single reward ever offered in the Los Angeles area.

Fled to Mexico?

Court records filed in the case reveal that authorities believe Dorner was trying to flee to Mexico and may have had help doing so from an associate of his known only as "JY" in the documents. Apparently, JY's family had property near where Dorner's truck was found in the Big Bear area.

However, officials said Monday that the Mexico theory reflected their thinking late last week, but not necessarily the current theory. He could be anywhere, they said.

Turns out he apparently never left the Big Bear area.

See Also:
LAPD Fugitive Standoff Ends, Cops Waiting to Search Charred Cabin
Source: Body Found in Rubble of Burned Cabin
Dorner May Have Had Help in Trying to Flee to Mexico
Ex-LAPD Officer Accused of Killings Thought to Have Fled to Mexico
Ex-cop Fugitive Christopher Dorner Charged With Murder

More Information:
Christopher Dorner's Manifesto

Photo: Facebook

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