BIG BEAR LAKE (KTLA) — The man whose pickup truck was carjacked by Christopher Dorner gave KTLA an exclusive and chilling account of the ordeal.
Rick Heltebrake came face-to-face with the multiple murder suspect, mere moments before Dorner’s last stand inside a cabin in Seven Oaks.
“I saw the sheriff’s and Fish & Game units coming up the road, and they looked like they were heading out on their way to something,” Heltebrake recalled.
“So I’m basically just driving down the road — it’s about a mile and a quarter to the bottom where my camp ends. Checked everything out.”
“I started driving back up the road. I got to about to within a half-mile of the highway or so and I saw some movement in the trees on the left side in the snow,” he said.
“And here comes this guy with a big gun,” he described. “And it was Christopher Dorner, and I knew who it was right away.”
“I saw a vehicle kind of crashed behind him, like maybe the vehicle he stole from Big Bear, and he lost control, went into the snowbank,” Heltebrake said.
“And he just kind of came out of the snow at me with his gun at my head.”
“I stopped, put my hands up,” he recalled. “He said, ‘I don’t want to hurt you. Just get out and start walking up the road.’”
“He looked at my dog who was in the passenger seat, said take your dog and just start walking.”
Heltebrake complied, and started walking up the road with his hands up.
“I got a little ways up the road, out of his sight, and not more than 10 seconds later, I heard a loud round of gunfire,” he said. “Ten to 20 rounds maybe.”
What he heard was an exchange of gunfire between Dorner and Fish and Wildlife officers.
As Dorner sped off in Heltebrake’s pickup, he encountered two Department of Fish and Wildlife trucks, authorities said.
Dorner rolled down his window and fired 15 to 20 rounds, authorities said. One of the officers jumped out and shot a high-powered rifle at the fleeing pickup.
Dorner then abandoned the vehicle and took off on foot. Police said he ended up in the Seven Oaks Mountain Cabins.
“Then I jumped into the snow, I ran behind a tree where I had some cover,” Heltebrake recalled.
“I started running up to the highway to get farther away, called a friend to come pick me up and I got away.”
According to Heltebrake, Dorner seemed “pretty calm” during their encounter. He said Dorner had a long, assault-rifle type gun.
“Didn’t see, you know, wild eyes or anything like that. He just pointed the gun at me and said I don’t want to hurt you and start walking.”
“I came face to face with a killer. Now that killer is dead, and we can move on with our lives,” he said.