US & Canada

Christopher Dorner: LA police end hunt after body found

California police have ended the manhunt for an ex-Los Angeles policeman accused of murder, a day after finding a charred body in a cabin where he was thought to be hiding.

San Bernardino Sheriff John McMahon said police could not yet identify the remains as those of Christopher Dorner.

But "we believe this investigation is over at this point", he said.

Dorner is accused of killing three last week and engaging in a gun battle with officers as they closed in on Tuesday.

'War zone'

The manhunt ended on Tuesday afternoon, after police received word that a man matching Dorner's description had stolen a vehicle in the area of Big Bear Lake, a ski resort 80 miles (130km) east of Los Angeles.

Officers pursued the suspect, who took refuge in the cabin on a snowy, wooded mountain. The suspect fired on police as they surrounded him, in a scene Sheriff McMahon likened to a war zone.

"The rounds kept coming but the deputies didn't give up," he said at a news conference on Wednesday. "Our deputy sheriffs are true heroes."

In the fight, Detective Jeremiah MacKay was shot and later died from his wounds. Another officer, Deputy Sheriff Alex Collins, was shot and has undergone surgery in hospital.

During the gun battle police shot tear gas canisters into the building in an effort to drive Dorner out.

Shortly afterwards, police heard a single gunshot as fire began to spread through the cabin.

It is not clear how the blaze started, and Sheriff McMahon said officers had not "intentionally" set fire to the cabin.

But he acknowledged the pyrotechnic tear gas canisters "generate a lot of heat".

"We introduced those into the residence and a fire erupted," he said.

"The pyrotechnic-type canisters are commonly referred to as burners."

Forensic tests will determine if the charred remains found in the razed cabin after Tuesday night's siege are those of Dorner, Sheriff McMahon said.

Revenge

Dorner, a 33-year-old former Navy reservist, is suspected of killing three people in a spree across southern California last week, including a policeman.

During the manhunt police guarded about 50 families, many belonging to former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) colleagues against whom Dorner had vowed revenge for allegedly ruining his career.

He was fired for making false statements, after lodging a complaint against his field training officer, saying she had kicked a suspect during an arrest.

His killing spree began on 3 February when he shot dead the daughter of a former police captain who represented him at his police disciplinary board, and her fiance.

Dorner apparently believed the woman's father, Randal Quan, had not defended him adequately.

Police say he shot and killed a Riverside, California policeman in an ambush on 7 February.

In an online manifesto, Dorner, who was black, suggested that racism was still rife in the LAPD.

It was an unwelcome allegation for a department that overhauled itself after the notorious police beating in 1991 of a black man, Rodney King.

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