NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police officers in California engaged in a deadly showdown with an accused killer on Tuesday.
But later that night there was some confusion over whether or not there was a body inside a burned out cabin in the San Bernadino Mountains, and if the identity of that body was indeed fired LAPD officer Christopher Dorner.
Sources said authorities made a gruesome discovery, following the wild shootout with the fugitive ex-cop who had set off a multi-state manhunt late last week, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
MORE COVERAGE: KCBS in Los Angeles
Law enforcement sources said the body believed to be that of Dorner was recovered inside a burned out cabin in Big Bear, where the intense gun battle took place on Tuesday afternoon. However, police at the scene said late Tuesday they had not yet recovered a body, presumably because the scene was still too hot to analyze due to the fire.
Towering flames shot out of the cabin in the San Bernadino Mountains, where Dorner had barricaded himself inside after a fierce shootout with San Bernadino Sheriff’s deputies, police said. Two deputies were shot, one fatally, police said.
The officers tracked Dorner down after he stole a car from two cleaning ladies who discovered him hiding inside a house in Big Bear. Dorner stole their truck and was spotted by a fishing and game warden who tried to pull him over, police said.
Dorner crashed the vehicle and ran off, finding shelter in the cabin, where he was cornered by an army of law enforcement officers and where he presumably died.
CBS News correspondent Carter Evans was in the thick of the stand-off and was reporting from the scene when gunfire erupted.
“You can see police. You can see the SWAT team just a little bit down the road. They’ve got Dorner cornered in a cabin right now. They’re preparing to go in but it’s not certain how they’re going to go about that at this point,” Evans reported.
Dorner had been on the run since last week when he allegedly shot and killed three people, including a police officer.
Dorner had written an online manifesto, complaining he was wrongly fired and he would bring warfare to Los Angeles police and their families.
Former law enforcement official and CBS News correspondent John Miller said the manifesto made it clear Dorner knew how this conflict would end.
“The second half was really a goodbye letter. It took on the tone of a suicide note. It meant he intended to wage his war and die in the end,” Miller said.
Authorities will next have to go through the process of positively identifying whatever remains found in the cabin. Only then will the dozens of law enforcement families who’ve been under police guard since this manhunt began finally breath a collective sigh of relief.