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Sheriff: Cabin not purposely burned in firefight


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That could have been how Dorner went overlooked. He was there Tuesday, however, when two women arrived to clean it, said Lt. Patrick Foy of the state Fish and Wildlife Department.

With three killings behind him and law enforcement still on the hunt, Dorner didn’t shoot them. Instead, he tied up the women and took their purple Nissan as he fled. Sparing the housekeepers ultimately would start the chain of events that would lead to his undoing.

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One of the women broke free and called 911, Foy said, and the chase was on.

Two game wardens quickly spotted the car on a meandering road along a scenic lake, and deputies planned to throw down spike strips to puncture the vehicle’s tires, authorities said.

The driver of the vehicle seems to anticipate the move, pulling close behind the school buses to give officers no space to drop the strips, Foy said. Dorner had warned — even boasted — in the rant that he knew their tactics and techniques as well as the officers pursuing him.

The purple Nissan then disappeared.

Heltebrake, a ranger who takes care of a Boy Scout camp nearby, said he just had lunch and was checking the perimeter of the camp for anything out of the ordinary when he saw someone emerge from the trees, and instantly recognized Dorner as the man on the news.

Officers trying to find the fugitive quickly realized he must have turned onto a side road, but for a few minutes nobody involved in the chase knew he had changed vehicles.

That was when officers saw Heltebrake’s truck, and Dorner appeared to be behind the wheel. And then the shooting started.

At one point, an officer emptied a high-powered semiautomatic rifle into the truck, but Foy said he doubts the driver was hit. "If he had been struck it would have caused so much damage immediately that he (the warden) probably would have known," he said.


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Out of options after crashing the pickup, the driver made a break for a cabin and barricaded himself inside.

With the standoff under way, officers lobbed tear gas canisters into the cabin. A single shot was heard inside before the cabin was engulfed in flames, said a law enforcement official who requested anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

If the body found there proves to be Dorner’s, the death toll from the rampage would be four, including a Riverside police officer.

Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremiah MacKay was killed and another deputy wounded at the cabin. MacKay, a detective who had been with the department 15 years, had a wife, 7-year-old daughter and 4-month-old son, sheriff’s officials said.

Police said Dorner began his run on Feb. 6 after they connected the Feb. 3 slayings of a former police captain’s daughter and her fiance with his angry manifesto.

Dorner blamed former LAPD Capt. Randal Quan for providing poor representation before a police disciplinary board that fired him for filing a false report. Dorner, who is black, claimed he was the subject of racism by the department and was targeted for reporting misconduct.

Chief Charlie Beck, who initially dismissed his allegations, said he would reopen the investigation into his firing — not to appease the ex-officer, but to restore confidence in the black community, which had a tense relationship with police that has improved in recent years.

LAPD Lt. Andrew Neiman said his agency had returned to normal patrol operations Wednesday but about a dozen targets Dorner threatened to go after would continue to be protected until the remains are positively identified.

"This really is not a celebration," he said.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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