Posted on 12 February 2013.
Christopher Dorner Takes Hostages, Flees in Stolen Vehicle, Barricades Self in Cabin
LIVE Updates in Real Time
Christopher Dorner was engaged in a shootout with federal authorities in the Big Bear area moments ago, law enforcement source told The Los Angeles Times.
The shooting occurred after Dorner burglarized a home, tied up a couple and stole their white pickup truck, the source said. It’s reported the couple may have been maids, a cleaning crew arriving to clean the Big Bear vacation rental.
It was not immediately clear whether Dorner was in custody. A second source said there was an active crime scene but did not have details.
Law enforcement and SWAT officials are swarming the area and witnesses
are reporting it “is a madhouse” in the area of Highway 38 and Glass Road
in Big Bear.
UPDATES FROM OUR LIVE FEED:
1:45 pm: California Assistant Chief Dan Sforza confirms that his officers exchanged gunfire with suspect Dorner in a white pick-up truck.
1:59: Authorities appear to have the suspect pinned down in a cabin in the Seven Oaks area. It’s reported, but not confirmed, that two officers have been hit by gunfire. Schools have gone into lockdown in the area.
2:09: Sheriff: Two law enforcement officers being airlifted to hospital with unknown injuries.
2:13: Several reports indicate that Dorner appears to be holed up in a cabin, and police have surrounded the cabin. Schools on lockdown in Bear Valley Unified are Big Bear High School, Chautauqua High School, Fallsvale Elementary, and North Shore Elementary.
2:15: Dorner reportedly holed up in Angelus Oaks cabin, which is completely surrounded. Police told media to cut their aerial video feed.
2:18: San Bernardino Co. Fire: All mountain access roads (18, 330, 38) closed. The San Bernardino Sheriff asks TV choppers to pull back from cabin where Dorner is barricaded. Shots fired.
2:19: Two deputies wounded. Third person may be shot, officers believe it may be Dorner.
2:22: FCC granted San Bernardino Sheriff restrictions on media helicopters. Must fly above 10K feet. SB County Sheriff is cutting news feeds. Moving SWAT in place per police scanner traffic. Two wounded cops. SBCSD confirm the man believed to be Dorner has barricaded himself in the cabin.
2:28: Humboldt Sentinel crashes due to high volume of web traffic. Will keep posting updates until our site comes back up. If you can read this, we’re up and running.
2:31: Ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner is reportedly barricaded in a cabin in Big Bear, where authorities have him surrounded.
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department officials have confirmed that a man believe to be Dorner has barricaded himself in a cabin. No known hostages are believed to be in the cabin. Dorner, a rogue police officer who claims he was unjustly fired from the police department, has been on the run for several days after allegedly killing three people last week.
He was first spotted Tuesday at about 12:30 on Highway 38 near Big Bear, where he was reportedly holding a couple hostage. One of the victims was able to escape and call authorities. Dorner escaped in a stolen white pick-up. A state Fish and Game Department official first spotted a man who looked like Dorner driving, turned around, and a massive shootout ensued.
2:32: 200 police have entered Big Bear area. Authorities checking vehicles on Highway 38 at checkpoints. The SWAT Bearcat ‘Bunker Buster’ vehicle has been called out to the scene.
2:37: Scanner traffic: words saying, “Don’t shoot ‘til someone comes out of the house.” Report that the cabin has a cement-walled basement. The site is 6 miles (as the crow flies) south of Big Bear, about 16 road miles from Big Bear by way of Highway 38.
2:47: CBS News showing instant replay of officers throwing smoke bombs at cabin and also showing a huge rifle still in the road, presumably Dorner’s. Cop tells ABC News ‘the whole mountain is a crime scene,’ and all cars leaving Big Bear will be checked out.
2:49: LAPD press conference coming in about 10 minutes.
2:50: Our live feed has been unusually quiet for the past 5 minutes. News blackout?
2:55: CBS-LA played back audio of the gun battle…it lasted almost two minutes.
2:56: LA Times reporting Dorner broke into cabin “days ago” to tie up a couple. The 911 call today reported a woman was tied up, with two other people. It’s believed the caller was one of the hostages who had escaped from the cabin. Dorner almost made it down the highway from Big Bear but now seems to be in another home as the manhunt moves in. Man barricaded in the cabin has not yet been positively identified as dormer, one LAPD official says.
Christopher Dorner Manhunt: Listen to live police scanner http://www.dailybulletin.com/ci_22574500
3:08: CNN reports that the injured law enforcement personnel were wounded in separate incidents, not together. Law enforcement officials have asked the media to stop tweeting about the incident, fearing officer safety. Nick Chatterton, who works at Snow Valley Ski Resort, said Snow Valley was shuttling heavily armed SWAT team members and Sheriff’s deputies in the area. LAPD reading from the SBCSD press release about the barricade situation now.
3:12: Barricade and standoff still in progress. Cabin owner in ‘state of shock’ when she saw her vacation cabin on TV surrounded amid reports of a shootout. We are going to report broad, non-tactical details, as per the San Bernardino DA’s request.
3:20: Asked if they’ve positively ID’d Dorner, LAPD’s Smith said, “until we get him in handcuffs we’re not going to be sure.’” San Bernardino SWAT heading up Highway 38. Numerous L.A. and LAPD satellite trucks on mountain.
3:24: CNN: According to a L.A. Times interview with a woman who claims to be the cabin’s owner, the cabin Dorner is believed to be in was supposed to be vacant and disconnected from Internet and cable. It has many windows for visibility. FAA has restricted airspace above Big Bear Lake. Non-law enforcement aircraft are being temporarily diverted from area. LAPD’s Smith says officers are “under a tremendous sense of apprehension… Until Dorner is in custody, no one in the Department is going to rest”
3:27: Lockdowns liftted at Big Bear High, Chautauqua High and Baldwin Lane Elementary schools. Students and teachers leaving quickly. Sources tell us the 2 wounded officers were San Bernardino Sheriff’s deputies; Loma Linda Medical Center to hold briefing shortly on 2 injured.
3:30: Two sources are reporting that one of the deputies has died from shootout. Not confirmed.
3:31: LAPD says they may hold additional news conferences at HQ if needed, and added Chief Charlie Beck has not gone to San Bernardino county. LAPD officers are staged at San Bernardino International Airport if needed, but San Bernardino County Sheriff is lead agency. “This is a San Bernardino county sheriffs investigation, they have the lead, we are there to support only if asked,”
said LAPD’s Smith.
3:35: Helicopters that brought wounded deputies to hospital being sent back to mountains in case more transports are needed.
3:43: The Dorner shootout apparently started out vehicle to vehicle; a CDFW officer traveling Hwy 38 saw Dorner driving in the opposite direction, turned his vehicle around, and a shooting ensued. One SB County deputy died of wounds suffered during a shootout with murder suspect, sources said.
4:00: No word on suspect presumed to be Dorner’s status. However, it is believed he has an arsenal of weapons, including a semi-automatic rifle, in the cabin. Watch live at : 4.nbcla.com/WZzZ1y
4:01: Big Bear residents asked to stay indoors. No evacuations at this time? The Humboldt Sentinel is posting pictures from our live feed as soon as we get them.
4:07: Red Cross opens evacuation centers due to Big Bear road closures at St Frances Xavier Church in Yucaipa & Elks Lodge in San Bernardino. Reporters in the field have confirmed with sources that one deputy has died of his or her wounds. One helicopter has left and two have arrived at San Bernardino airport.
4:13: Vehicles no longer being checked as they go down mountain ABC-7 News says; this indicates some conditions have changed. Reporters have no access to incident scene due to security perimeter. Fox-LA reporter who knows the fatally shot SBSD deputy says his wife just had a baby.
4:20: Tear gas and flash bang grenades have been fired– and a tactical operation is under way at the cabin. The cabin is on fire; flames seen from ground and in the air. Police standing guard.
4:23: Flames growing quickly. The entire building is engulfed in flames. Police standing still, in place, guns drawn. Four or five more tear gas shots fired at cabin where Dorner is holed up, ‘significant’ smoke rising skyward.
4:25: One shot fired inside the house. SWAT team has entered the burning cabin. Final operation underway.
4:27: Sheriff John McMahon confirmed a deputy was killed in action today; other deputy injured will recover.
4:30: Large plumes of black smoke erupting from cabin where suspect, presumed to be Dorner, is holed up after tear gas rounds were fired and SWAT entered several minutes ago.
4:34: Ammo being heard exploding inside cabin. Unconfirmed report SWAT teams have killed Dorner. Stand by for confirmation. Sheriff officials at the scene have said that the smoke seen is ammunition burning, not the cabin.
4:36: No status update yet.
What we know now:
• Police are believed to be deploying an operation in and around the cabin now, and smoke is rising from the area.
• Two sheriff’s deputies were shot earlier, and one has died from his injuries. The other “should be fine” officials said.
• Before taking cover in the cabin, Dorner is believed to have broken into a nearby home, tied up the occupants and stolen their car, authorities said. He is believed to have left the home with the car this morning and encountered a California Fish and Wildlife officer, who exchanged gunfire with Dorner. The officer was unharmed, but Dorner then encountered San Bernardino Sheriff Officers as he holed up in the nearby cabin.
4:46: Several unconfirmed reports out there of
Dorner being down. CNN says SWAT may have
rushed the cabin after tear gas canisters ignited
the fire in order to evacuate it.
4:51: The cabin Dorner was believed to be in is now fully engulfed in flames. No movement inside, according to law enforcement at the scene. Visible smoke. Police scanner: there is a basement in cabin– as a precaution officers are going to let fire burn through to the basement. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy killed today was the first slain in the line of
duty since 2005.
4:55: San Bernardino County Sheriff spokesperson Cindy Bachmann said, “I can’t talk to you about the fire … we don’t know if Dorner’s still inside, the cabin is on fire now, that’s all I can tell you.” Bachmann confirms that there’s a suspect barricaded in the cabin. The second deputy injured by the suspect is in surgery now and is expected to survive. “We have reason to believe that it is him. The victims who had their car stolen reported to us that it is him, ” Bachmann said. Also says she hasn’t been advised of any hostages.
5:02: Cabin structure is starting to deteriorate and fall. Bachmann says she doesn’t believe any neighbors have been ordered to evacuate. Regarding how law enforcement are going to address the burning cabin: “It’s an active scene … they have a plan. And they haven’t had time to update me on every aspect of that plan.”
5:05: Officers assisting sheriffs deputies are downing their tactical gear and bugging out. Sheriff’s Dept has tactical control. Police now smoking cigarettes with rifles down, as fire burns
down the cabin. “I don’t see a roof anymore,” one said.
5:07: Roads will be closed for several hours. Law enforcement will enter cabin “When it’s determined to be safe to do so.” Cabin was reportedly searched two days ago and was a rental.
5:12: It is presumed Dorner is deceased, or to a far lesser degree, taken into custody. No details have been released or confirmed.
5:14: The Humboldt Sentinel will take a momentary break. Our servers remain up.
5:21: Cabin burnt to the ground. Will be awhile before remains of cabin can be examined. Waiting for all clear signal. County Fire units are staged on fire in the Barton Flats. Due to safety, units have not been able to attack the fire. Cabin owner’s son says that cabin was fueled by a propane gas and tank. Says there are six other cabins nearby that the suspect could have taken shelter in, if he did escape.
5:24: Sheriff is waiting to search burned cabin. We still do not have confirmation that the suspect in the cabin has been killed. Riverside police have arrived. An LAPD cruiser just left the scene and is escorting Fire Crews headed down to put out the fire.
5:26: Members of SWAT are packing up and heading out.
5:27: The woman who owns the burning cabin is texting NBC-LA as she watches TV. She says it’s a compound of 7 structures. To note, Dorner’s mother has arrived home elsewhere. Flight restrictions for public and media expected to be released soon. SBSO spokesperson Bachmann: “We have to let it burn simply because there’s an armed and dangerous subject believed to be inside.”
5:32: SBCSD Bachmann: “We had reports that he was heavily armed …but she have no idea of the weapons he used.” Information learned from officers on the scene that Dorner was killed is still unconfirmed.
5:35: Our live feed of events is unusually quiet. It’s a waiting game now. LAPD says there’s no word on when the next press briefing here will be.
5:44: BREAKING: AP Source: Suspect never emerged from burning California cabin.
5:45: CHP announced Highway 38 is open to residents of Forest Falls, Angeles Oaks, and Mountain Home Village now. Units on scene at Barton Flats now deploying lines on the fire. The mayor of Big Bear, Jay Obernolte, doesn’t know if the barricaded man was Dorner, but confirmed the man inside the cabin never came out.
5:48: Residents are being allowed back in to their homes. Flags at LAPD headquarters were already at half-staff for the slain Riverside officer. “Another slain officer to mourn.”
5:52: LA Mayor Villaraigosa speaking at a press conference now. “We want to thank all of the law enforcement professionals who have, day and night, tried two bring Christopher Dorner to justice.”
6:04: BREAKING: Dorner’s body has not been found. The police search will now be focused on the basement area.
6:09: No news. There’s a curious lull in the live feed as reporters rush to make their 6 pm deadlines.
LAPD says a protection detail is still in place until they confirm Dorner was in the house. Says no one has entered the burning house yet. LAPD says its security is unchanged until Dorner is confirmed dead or captured: 50 officers, families being protected; no one-person police cars to be on patrol.
Sadly, two candles have been placed by the Loma Linda Hospital Emergency Room to represent the two San Bernardino County deputies who were shot.
7:00 pm: It looks like it’s a done deal:
An unnamed LAPD source confirmed that a charred body that was found in the burned cabin at 6:30 pm was that of fired LAPD Officer Chris Dorner. However, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Cindy Bachmann
said, “We haven’t been into the cabin yet; and we will not confirm rumors a body
was removed. It is too hot and dangerous to enter.”
Officials will be looking for identifying marks such as tattoos before confirming the identity of Dorner.
7:30: Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said, “Dorner was in the cabin– and is dead.”
Officials said a press conference will be held tomorrow, although no time has been set. The delay is out of respect for the fallen officers and their families, and for the Riverside officer’s funeral arrangements, they said.
You can see CBS News’ exclusive footage of the gun battle and police standoff here.
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The Humboldt Sentinel will be signing off now– stay tuned to your local news for further updates.
Our appreciation goes out to the numerous agencies and reporters sharing their live news feed live exclusively to the Humboldt Sentinel so we could report– in real time– the events as they transpired to our Humboldt County readers and beyond.
As reporter Rick Storza said to us, “I’ve never seen such an effort among us, the media, to share as we have with the Dorner story, the stories, photos, videos and tips.”
True. Thank you, Rick, and to everyone for your help–