BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (February 13, 2013)—Authorities said Wednesday it may take some time to confirm whether burned remains found in a mountain cabin are those of a fugitive ex-cop who was the focus of a massive manhunt.
A man believed to be Christopher Dorner, the former Los Angeles police, who’s accused of three murders, holed up in the cabin Tuesday after a shootout with deputies in which one officer was killed.
The cabin later caught on fire.
A charred body was found inside.
An official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press Wednesday that a wallet with a California driver's license with the name Christopher Dorner was found in the rubble of a cabin.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, said the charred body and personal items were found in the basement of the burned cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains.
Authorities say a gunfight started early Tuesday afternoon after game wardens confronted a man believed to be Dorner in the San Bernardino Mountains about 20 minutes after a vehicle was reported stolen nearby.
After the initial exchange of gunfire with the wardens, Dorner fled into the woods and there was a second exchange with sheriff's deputies, two of whom were wounded.
They were airlifted to a hospital where one later died.
The second deputy was in surgery Tuesday evening, but is expected to survive, San Bernardino sheriff’s office spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said.
A source who requested anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, said a single gunshot was heard from inside the cabin just before the fire broke out Tuesday evening.
Dorner was accused of killing a couple and another police officer.
A $1 million reward was offered for information leading to his arrest.
Police scoured the area around Big Bear Lake for days, after Dorner's burned-out pickup truck was found there last week with a broken axle.
It now appears that Dorner spent most of that time hiding in a vacation cabin across the street from the command post.
The break came Tuesday with word that a man matching Dorner's description had tied up a mother and daughter pair of housekeepers in a cabin, stolen their vehicle and fled.
One of the maids was able to get free and called 911.
Dorner was spotted a short time later, leading to a chase and then the shootout.