Remains found as police death-threat fugitive’s cabin is burned

Charred human remains have been found in a burned-out cabin where a fugitive former police officer was believed to be, US police have confirmed.

The remains were found in the cabin in Big Bear Lake, California, after one sheriff’s deputy was killed and another injured in a shootout, a spokeswoman said.

Authorities believe Christopher Dorner barricaded himself inside the cabin and a fire later started. Investigators will attempt to determine if the remains are his.

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Thousands of officers had been hunting Dorner, also a former Navy reservist, since police said he launched a campaign to exact revenge against the Los Angeles Police Department for being fired.

Police had been searching snow-covered woods about 80 miles east of Los Angeles, after Dorner’s car was found there last week. He is believed to have killed at least four people.

The LAPD says Dorner threatened to bring “warfare” to officers and their families, spreading fear and setting off a search for him across the south west of the US and into Mexico.

Live TV pictures had shown flames engulfing the cabin with no apparent effort to tackle them.

“We have reason to believe that it is him,” said San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cynthia Bachman, adding that she did not know how the fire started. She said there was gunfire between the person in the cabin and officers around the home before the blaze began.

Yesterday afternoon, deputies got a report of a stolen pick-up truck directly across the street from where police set up their command post on Thursday, not far from where Dorner’s pick-up was abandoned. The owner of the vehicle described the suspect as looking similar to Dorner.

A warden for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife travelling down Highway 38 recognised a man of Dorner’s description driving in the opposite direction. The officer pursued the vehicle and there was a shooting in which the wildlife vehicle was hit numerous times and the suspect escaped on foot.

After holing up in the cabin, there was a second gun battle with San Bernardino County deputies, two of whom were shot. One died and the other underwent surgery.

A SWAT team surrounded the cabin, pumped fuel into it then blasted a message over a loudspeaker: “Surrender or come out.” An armoured vehicle then tore down the cabin’s four walls.

Police say Dorner went on the run on February 6 after they connected the killings of a former police captain’s daughter and her fiance with an angry Facebook rant they said he posted. Threats against the LAPD led officials to assign officers to protect officers and their families.