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San Bernardino Sheriff: Dorner Manhunt is Over

A forensic examination will determine if the remains belong to murder suspect Christopher Dorner.

Updated at 4:55 p.m.

Efforts continued Wednesday to identify charred human remains found in a burned-out mountain cabin where a fired Los Angeles police officer accused of killing a Riverside police officer and three other people was believed to have engaged in a deadly gun battle with law enforcement.

But the San Bernardino County sheriff said he was convinced the manhunt for Christopher Jordan Dorner has ended.

"We believe that this investigation is over at this point, and we'll just need to move on from here," Sheriff John McMahon told reporters at the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department headquarters.

Although the remains had not yet been forensically identified as the 33- year-old Dorner, the LAPD lifted the tactical alert that had been in place almost daily during the manhunt. But about a dozen LAPD families threatened in a manifesto allegedly posted online by Dorner last week will continue to receive special protection.

"The LAPD has now moved back into a normal state of police operation," LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman, a department spokesman, said at a  briefing at LAPD headquarters. "That began late last night, and will continue now as far as ... normal patrol operations."

But Neiman said the protective details "will remain in place until the department and the protectees feel safe."

Neiman noted that investigations were continuing into whether Dorner had any accomplices. He said it was not yet known if anyone would receive any of the $1 million reward money that had been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.

Dorner was being hunted in connection with the slayings of two people in Irvine and a Riverside police officer. During Tuesday's firefight in Big Bear, he allegedly fatally shot a San Bernardino County sheriff's detective, identified by McMahon as 35-year-old Jeremiah MacKay, a 15-year department veteran.

MacKay is survived by his wife, a 7-year-old daughter and 4-month-old son, McMahon said.

Another San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy, Alex Collins, was wounded, but "he's in good spirits and should make a full recovery," McMahon said.

Dorner -- the subject of a six-day manhunt -- is believed to have been the man who stole one vehicle and carjacked another on Tuesday, sparking a pursuit that ended with a wild gun battle in the cabin on Seven Oaks Road just off Highway 38.

The cabin eventually caught fire after deputies fired tear gas canisters inside, and burned for several hours.

The inferno that consumed the cabin climaxed a wild day of violence in the normally tranquil mountain community, which had been the focus of the Dorner manhunt since his pickup truck was found burning in the area last Thursday.

At 12:20 p.m. Tuesday, San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies received a report of a man matching Dorner's description stealing a car from a cabin in the 1200 block of Club View Drive in Big Bear. According to reports from the scene, two female housekeepers had gone into the cabin and found someone matching Dorner's description inside. The suspect tied the women up and fled in their vehicle, according to witnesses and sheriff's officials.

The women were not injured. It was unclear how long the suspect may have been hiding in the cabin, which was close to the law enforcement command post that had been established during the manhunt.

Dorner apparently crashed the vehicle a short time later, then carjacked a man's silver pickup truck -- without hurting him, the man said later. The carjacking victim, Rick Heltebrake, told reporters that Dorner was dressed in camouflage gear and carried what looked like a sniper-type rifle when he forced him out of his pickup truck, allowing him to take his dog from the vehicle.

During the pursuit, Dorner was spotted along Highway 38 by state Fish and Wildlife officers who began following the suspect. The suspect opened fire, striking the officers' vehicle, according to Fish and Wildlife Lt. Patrick Foy. The officers, who returned fired at the suspect, were not injured, he said.

The truck wound up crashed down an embankment, and the suspect fled on foot into the Seven Oaks cabin, beginning the lengthy firefight. The two sheriff's deputies who were shot during the battle were flown to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where MacKay died at 2:24 p.m.

During the standoff, police used a heavily armored vehicle to tear down walls of the cabin, then fired tear gas canisters into the building shortly after 4 p.m. By about 4:20 p.m., the cabin was engulfed in flames. Several reports indicated that a single gunshot was heard emanating from the cabin before it burned down. As the fire raged, the sound of exploding ammunition could be heard from inside.

On Feb. 3, Dorner -- also a former Navy Reserve lieutenant -- allegedly gunned down the daughter and future son-in-law of an ex-police captain who represented him at a hearing that resulted in his dismissal from the LAPD. The bodies of 28-year-old Cal State Fullerton assistant women's basketball coach Monica Quan and her fiance, 27-year-old USC public safety Officer Keith Lawrence, were found in Lawrence's car in the parking structure of their Irvine condominium building.

The next day, Dorner allegedly posted a 6,000-word manifesto on Facebook, vowing to kill named LAPD officers and their families. About 50 Los Angeles police officers and their families were being protected during the manhunt, authorities said.

On Thursday, Dorner was allegedly involved in a shootout with Los Angeles police guarding an officer's home in Corona, leaving one officer with a graze wound to the head, police said. About 20 minutes later, he allegedly fired on a pair of Riverside police officers stopped at a red light, killing Officer Michael Crain, 34, and wounding the other, who was expected to recover.

Crain, an 11-year department veteran and ex-Marine, is survived by his wife, Regina, and two children, Ian, 10, and Kaitlyn, 4. His funeral was held today in Riverside.

The search for Dorner had been focused in the Big Bear area since Thursday afternoon, when his pickup truck -- apparently disabled by a broken axle -- was found burning in a wooded area. LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith, a department spokesman, said investigators were following up on 1,045 tips -- most generated after a $1 million reward for information leading to Dorner's capture and conviction was announced Sunday.

-City News Service

Brenda February 15, 2013 at 01:24 AM
I think he shot himself when they heard that one shot go off as they were shooting in the tear gas flammmables and the SUV swat tank was taking down walls. So it wasn't slow. I was almost hoping he would have surrendered, he was arrested and tried of course for his crimes, but also took lie detector tests perhaps proving this information supposedly ONLY HE had privy to.
Brenda February 15, 2013 at 01:29 AM
Oh Lord Guys, thank God you guys noticed this short changing stuff too. Well, I notice it on my favorite ice cream.!! They are not 1/2 gallons anymore they are basically 1/4 to a 1/3 of a gallon LESS! Well took me a while to realize THAT, and wondered why I was running short a night for my servings of icecream. Same price but at least a serving less, those mean guys at Breyers 1/2 calories. Hmmph slow churned. 1/2 calories my rear end, its half calories cause they cut me SHORT!
Timber February 15, 2013 at 06:14 AM
Brenda, Lucerne still offers 2 quarts of ice cream as well as 1.5 quarts. Vons I think. Breyers is better. Now I no longer need my to display my sign -- "Don't shoot, I' m not Dorner"
Brenda February 16, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Well an honest Ice Cream maker Lucerne and they have been around forever. Or isnt that Vons off brand? It just has to be cookies and cream!!! dang could have made some money if we had gotten out tshirts, bumber stickers with that on it real fast. :) Darnit, we could be millionaires Timber.

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