BIG BEAR LAKE — Investigators on Wednesday were in the process of identifying remains found in the charred cabin where fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner was believed to have been holed up.
An official told the Associated Press that a wallet and personal items, including a California driver’s license with Dorner’s name, were found with the body in the basement of the cabin.
At a briefing on Wednesday morning, Lt. Andy Neiman said that the LAPD has been back in a normal state of operations since late Wednesday.
He said that the department had not been on tactical alert since early Wednesday.
Neiman also said that “about a dozen or so” protective details of people named in Dorner’s manifesto will remain in place until the department and the families feel safe.
He emphasized that the investigation is not stopping just because the suspect is believed to be dead.
“We don’t just stop a murder case simply because we think the suspect in that case is no longer with us,” he said.
Neiman would not comment on the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s investigation of the remains.
He also said that the city attorneys involved will determine who, if anyone, gets the reward money, and that any decision on that matter could take some time.
If the body is identified as Dorner’s, the standoff would end a week-long manhunt for the ex-LAPD officer and Navy reservist suspected in a string of shootings following his firing several years ago.
Four people — an Irvine couple, a Riverside police officer and a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy — have died allegedly at Dorner’s hands.
Police say Dorner’s first victims were the daughter of the retired LAPD official who represented him at his disciplinary hearing and her fiance.
Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence were found shot to death Feb. 3 in their car in their condo complex’s parking structure.
Days later, officials said, Dorner allegedly attempted to steal a boat in San Diego in a failed bid to escape to Mexico.
By Feb. 7, authorities said, he had fled to the Inland Empire. In Corona, police said, he fired at an LAPD officer searching for him at a gas station.
About half an later, he allegedly opened fire on two Riverside officers, killing Michael Crain, 34, and injuring his partner.
His burning truck was found near Big Bear later Thursday, prompting hundreds of officers to scour the area and conduct cabin-to-cabin checks.
That search was scaled back as authorities found no new signs of the wanted man.
Meantime, authorities scoured more than 1,000 tips that poured in from across Southern California after officials announced a $1 million reward.
Then, on Tuesday morning, a couple entered their cabin in the 1200 block of Club View Drive and ran into a man they said resembled the fugitive, a law enforcement official said.
The cabin was not far from where Dorner’s singed truck had been found and where police had been holding news conferences about the manhunt.
The man tied up the man and woman and he took off in a purple Nissan parked near the cabin, the official said.
About 12:20 p.m., one of them broke free and called police.
Nearly half an hour later, officers with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife spotted the stolen vehicle and called for backup, authorities said.
The suspect turned down a side road in an attempt to elude the officers but crashed the vehicle, police said.
A short time later, authorities said, the suspect carjacked a light-colored pickup truck and took off, only to be spotted by another Fish and Wildlife officer.
A gun battle ensued before Dorner crashed the truck and ran to the cabin.
He later shot two San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies, killing one and seriously injuring the other, authorities said.
The injured deputy is expected to survive but it is anticipated he will need several surgeries. The names of the two deputies have not been released.
An intense gun battle ensued as authorities swarmed the cabin, people with knowledge of the situation said, adding hundreds of rounds were fired in just more than an hour.
“There were very few lulls in the gunfire,” one person familiar with the investigation said.
Just before 5 p.m., authorities smashed the cabin’s windows, pumped in tear gas and called for the suspect to surrender, officials said.
They got no response. Then, using a demolition vehicle, they tore down the cabin’s walls one by one.
When they reached the last wall, they heard a gunshot. Then the cabin burst into flames, officials said.
“There would have been a lot more casualties” if officers had to “assault the cabin and make entry,” the source said. “There weren’t a lot of options.”
-KTLA/Los Angeles Times