Ex-LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner Exchanges Gunfire With Officers In Big Bear; 1 Deputy Dead, 1 Wounded

8:05 PM, Feb 12, 2013   |    comments
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One sheriff's deputy died and another was wounded Tuesday afternoon during dramatic gunfight with the man authorities believe to be Christopher Dorner, the fugitive former Los Angeles cop wanted in three murders and a revenge shooting rampage across Southern California.

The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department confirmed earlier reports that a deputy was killed after authorities surrounded a cabin in the Big Bear ski resort area.The deputy, who has not been identified, died of his wounds at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Redlands.

It was unknown whether Dorner, a Navy veteran who was fired from the Los Angeles Police Department, had been hit by gunfire.

"The likelihood is it is him but we cant say for sure,'' LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.

"Enough is enough. It's time to turn yourself in," Smith said, addressing Dorner via television cameras. "It's time to end the bloodshed."

LIVE: Watch Footage Of Fugitive Ex-Cop Manhunt

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said in a statement that deputies searching for Dorner had responded to a report of a stolen vehicle in the 1200 block of Club View Drive, in the Big Bear community in the San Bernardino Mountains.

"The reporting party said the suspect took their vehicle and described the suspect as looking very similar to Dorner,'' the department said. "Deputies immediately began a search on the ground and from the air for the vehicle.''

"The vehicle was located at Highway 38 and Glass Road. The suspect fled into the forest and barricaded himself inside a cabin,'' the department said.

"A short time later, there was an exchange of gunfire between law enforcement and the suspect. Sheriff's SWAT is on scene.

Two law enforcement officers are being airlifted to a local hospital with unknown injuries,'' the department said.

Gunshots could be heard along with officers' shouts on a KCAL-TV audio broadcast from the scene in Big Bear.

The station reported state fish and game officers exchanged shots with the suspect after he was stopped in a truck, then broke and ran on foot after exchanging gunfire. Authorities responded to the location and gave chase Tuesday when the suspect fled in a stolen car.

All roads out of the area were closed, and skiers were instructed not to leave the area immediately.

A search for Dorner has been underway in the Big Bear area since his pickup was found there Thursday. Road blocks were up throughout the area.

Smith said the sighting of Dorner came at 12:22 p.m. local time. He urged Los Angeles television stations with helicopters over the area not to air shots of ground activity by police because the fugitive could be watching TV or following media reports.

The San Bernardino sheriff also asked the media to stop tweeting, saying it was "hindering officer safety."

More than 1,000 tips have come in since Los Angeles offered a $1 million reward, raised from public and private sources.

Federal authorities earlier said they believed Dorner had fled to Mexico, according to a federal criminal complaint.

The federal criminal complaint filed last week alleges Dorner killed three people on a revenge-driven shooting spree in Southern California.

The manhunt for Dorner, 33, began last Wednesday when he was named the suspect in the Orange County killings of a former Los Angeles police captain's daughter and her fiance the previous weekend.

Hours after police announced they were looking for him, Dorner allegedly fired at LAPD officers, then ambushed two Riverside officers, killing one.

An angry manifesto that police attributed to Dorner charges rampant racism in the LAPD and claims that he was wrongly dismissed for giving false evidence.

The author vowed deadly revenge on those in the LAPD responsible for his firing years earlier, and their families. Police now are providing protection for some 50 families thought to be targets.

The search has been particularly urgent because of Dorner's U.S. Navy military training as a sharpshooter. He has also been trained in underwater warfare.

TMZ reported Monday that surveillance video showing a man fitting Dorner's description bought scuba gear at at sporting goods store in Torrance, Calif., two days before the killing spree began.

TMZ reported that police have obtained the video and quoted an unidentified law enforcement source as confirming that Dorner is the man shown in the footage.

TMZ quoted one law enforcement source as saying the video is significant because "it shows what he was up to."

The criminal complaint also says that authorities were tracking a Dorner associate identified only as "J.Y.," who had been spotted in Costa Mesa.

The criminal complaint, filed Feb. 7, said that on that day, police spoke with a boat captain in San Diego who reported that a man fitting Dorner's description had subdued him and tried to steal a boat, telling the owner that he was taking it to Mexico, where it could be recovered. The suspect fled after the bow line of the boat got caught in its propeller and stalled.

The complaint also notes that Dorner's personal belongings, including his wallet and I.D. cards, were found near the U.S.-Mexico border at the San Ysidro Point of Entry. In addition, the complaint alleges, a man matching Dorner's description tried to gain access to the Point Loma naval base in San Diego.

Based on its evidence, Craig McClusky, of the U.S. Marshals Service, said in the complaint that there is "probable cause" to believe that Dorner has "moved and traveled in interstate and foreign commerce from California to Mexico with the intent to avoid prosecution."

Investigators raided the Hotel Tapatio in Tijuana Monday looking for Dorner, but turned up no evidence on the property concerning the fugitive, ABC10 in San Diego reported. More than 20 officers searched the hotel following a tip from the public.

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