(USA TODAY) -- Deputies did not intentionally burn down the Southern California
mountain cabin where fugitive cop killer Christopher Dorner apparently
made his deadly last stand Tuesday, the San Bernardino County sheriff
"We did not intend to burn down that cabin to get
Mr. Dorner to come out," Sheriff John McMahon said at an afternoon news
He said deputies initially fired "cold" tear gas into
the cabin newar Big Bear Lake, then switched to "pyrotechnic-type"
rounds" known as "burners."
He said authorities have strong
evidence that the man deputies tracked to a cabin in a ski resort looked
and behaved like Dorner. And though he still could not "absolutely,
positively confirm" that the charred body found inside was Dorners, the
sheriff said the coroner would likely made the determination "soon."
"We believe the investigation is over at this point," McMahon said
was also revealed that during the manhunt deputies had knocked on the
door of the cabin but moved on when they got no answer.
They do not believe Dorner was in the cabin, which showed no signs of forced entry and had not been rented since Feb. 6.
The fiery conclusion to a violent standoff in the San Bernardino
Mountains was no cause for celebration to police officers working the
case, Los Angeles Police Lt. Andy Neiman said earlier Wednesday.
"It was horrifying to listen to that firefight, to hear those words 'officer down,' " Neiman said.
San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies were shot, one fatally, before
fire engulfed the cabin where 33-year-old Christopher Dorner apparently
made his last stand.
The sheriff's office said charred human remains were found in the rubble.
"We have reason to believe that it is (Dorner)," sheriff's spokeswoman Cynthia Bachman said.
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wallet with a California driver's license bearing the name Christopher
Dorner also was found, the Associated Press reported, citing a law
enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation but declined
to be named because of the ongoing probe.
Bachman said forensic tests would be carried out to confirm the identification.
"Our deepest sympathy to the families" of the deputies who were shot, Neiman said.
The Inland Empire Emerald Society,
a charity for families of fallen officers, has identified the slain
deputy as 35-year-old Detective Jeremiah MacKay, of Redlands, a 15-year
department veteran, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reported Wednesday. McMahon confirmed MacKay's death at the news conference.
other deputy who was shot was identified as Alex Collins, who has
undergone multiple surgeries and will require more, McMahon said.
"He's in good spirits and should make a full recovery after a number of additional surgeries," he added.
death was the fourth slaying attributed to Dorner, who also wounded
three police officers last week in what his Facebook manifesto linked to
a campaign of revenge for having been fired from the police department
The victims include Riverside Officer Michael Crain, 34,
who was fatally shot a week ago as he sat in his police cruiser. On
Wednesday, thousands of people gathered for Crain's funeral.
said that investigations will continue at least until Dorner's body is
positively identified. LAPD, which had been on high alert since Dorner
began his rampage, has returned to normal operations, Neiman said.
Still, police will continue to protect dozens of officers and others Dorner threatened in his rambling manifesto, Neiman said.
task force is still in place, and they will work until there's nothing
left to be done," he said. "We don't just stop a murder case simply
because we think that the suspect in that case" is dead.
On Tuesday, Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Andrew Smith said it
was "highly likely" that Dorner had been inside when authorities heard a
single gunshot and saw the cabin burning in Seven Oaks, a small
mountain community about 90 miles east of Los Angeles.
teams had fired tear gas inside of the cabin as part of a "tactical
operation" and were tearing down its walls to flush out Dorner, who had
reportedly been driven back inside by police when he tried to flee out
Police have not explained what started the fire
in the cabin. Officers had thrown tear gas canisters into the cabin and
shouted to Dorner to surrender. Gil Torrez, a retired FBI hostage
negotiator, says it's unlikely that police would have deliberately
burned down the house. But a canister of tear gas or another agent could
have ignited something else, he said.
Police said Dorner
had been holed up since last Thursday in a different cabin - 20 to 30
yards from the site where news media gathered and received sheriff's
briefings daily on the massive manhunt after Dorner's burned truck was
found earlier that day.
Dorner was discovered Tuesday by
two cleaning women who entered the cabin. Lt. Patrick Foy, with the
California Fish and Wildlife Department, said Dorner tied them up with
plastic zip ties and left in their car, wrecked it, then stole a truck
from a male driver.
Rick Heltebrake, the camp manager whose truck
was commandeered by Dorner on Tuesday, said Wednesday that he was
exhausted. He said he was taking calls from media and well-wishers all
night and never got a break after his harrowing experience.
"We just want to go on from here," Heltebrake said as he came by a police checkpoint in Angelus Oaks.
He described his encounter with the fugitive as if it were a business
transaction. A terrifying moment? "I didn't feel like it was. He said
he didn't want to hurt me and I believed him," he said.
"There was no panic," Heltebrake said. "I got a little freaked when I heard the gunfire."
was dressed in military-style camouflage and was toting only one
weapon, an military-style rifle. The victim, who runs a camp for Boy
Scouts of America, says he didn't get a good look at it because it was
pointed right at him.
He added that Dorner did not look
disheveled, unshaven or like a man whom might\ have been hold up under
difficult conditions for a week.
He is grateful, in fact, that Doerner let him take his beloved 3-year-old Dalmation, Suni, when he bailed from his truck.
"That was a little bit of compassion," he said.
siad he then dove into a snowbank and hit behind a tree when he heard
the gunfire moments later. He didn't know California game wardens were
right behind Dorner.
In all, he said, the encounter lasted about 10 seconds.
exchanging gunfire with officers, Dorner ran into the woods and broke
into the cabin. As SWAT closed in, a single shot was heard inside before
the cabin was engulfed in flames. As the fire grew, more gunshots were
heard - apparently ammunition ignited by the fire, authorities said.
Authorities let the cabin burn.
"We won't allow them (firefighters) to get close to the cabin,'' said sheriff's spokeswoman Bachman. "It's just not safe.''
previously was charged with killing Riverside Police Officer Michael
Crain and was the prime suspect in the murders of Monica Quan and her
fiancé, Keith Lawrence, on Feb. 3. She was the daughter of a retired Los
Angeles police captain whom Dorner blamed for his firing after
reporting alleged abuse by another officer. Randal Quan represented
Dorner during his termination hearing.
Los Angeles Police Chief
Charlie Beck had called Dorner "a domestic terrorist," and a $1 million
reward, raised from public and private sources, was offered. Police
received more than 1,000 tips.
Neiman said it was not clear who, if anyone, might claim the reward if the body in the cabin turns out to be that of Dorner.
Contributing: Michael Winter; Chris Woodyard
Donna Leinwand Leger, John Bacon and William M. Welch, USA TODAY