John Cadiz Klemack, Mark James
Dental records were used to positively identify the former LAPD officer who had been the subject of a manhunt. The investigation into his alleged crimes and how it all ended continues. John Cadiz Klemack reports from San Bernardino for the 5 p.m. on Feb. 14, 2013.
The charred remains of a body found in a cabin burned after a gunfight in the mountains east of Los Angeles have been identified as those of Christopher Dorner, the fugitive ex-police officer whose alleged revenge-fueled killing spree left four dead and caused anxiety across Southern California.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner's Department announced the positive identification on Thursday afternoon, two days after the remains were found in a cabin near the ski resort town of Big Bear.
"During the autopsy, positive identification was made through dental examination," the department said in a news release.
The department planned a news conference for 4 p.m. Friday.
A former Los Angeles Police Department officer, Dorner was the subject of an extensive manhunt after he allegedly shot three people and threatened to kill police officers.
More than 500 rounds were exchanged in a firefight that took place at the cabin in the unincorporated Seven Oaks area on Tuesday afternoon. Dorner had retreated on foot to the cabin after his was spotted by a state wildlife officer who exchanged gunfire with the suspect on a mountain roadway.
A gunfight with San Bernardino County deputies who responded to a call for backup left Detective Jeremiah MacKay dead and another county deputy sheriff seriously injured. The shooting of MacKay brought the number of deaths associated with Dorner to four.
The remote cabin was soon surrounded by law enforcement officers, who began collapsing the structure's walls with an armored vehicle, then fired tear gas canisters into the structure.
Part of a collection of aged vacation rental structures, the cabin caught on fire. A source told NBC4 a single gunshot was heard from inside the cabin before the flames engulfed the structure.
The search for Dorner had turned to Big Bear after the suspect's burned truck was found in Big Bear on Feb. 7 -- hours after he allegedly shot at two LAPD officers in Corona and then soon after, fired on two Riverside Police Department officers, killing Officer Michael Crain.
Dorner, 33, was first sought by police after he became the suspect in the fatal shooting Feb. 3 of Keith Lawrence and his fiancée Monica Quan. An assistant basketball coach at California State University Fullerton, Quan was the daughter of a former LAPD captain who was targeted by Dorner in an 11,400-word angry manifesto that police said he published online.
The killing of Quan and Lawrence began a shooting spree and manhunt that led authorities to the Big Bear area, where Dorner is believed to have hidden in a condominium complex just a few hundred yards from a command post set up to search for him.
A couple who owned the complex on Wednesday night described being tied up by Dorner, saying he told them he did not want to harm them and only wanted his name cleared.
His manifesto described his firing from the LAPD in 2008 after he was found to have falsely reported a fellow officer for excessive use of force against a suspect. Dorner called the LAPD a racist organization and promised to kill officers, naming names of those he planned to target.
A former lieutenant and reservist in the U.S. Navy, Dorner's attitude toward the LAPD generated sympathy from some online who expressed anti-police opinions, often agreeing with Dorner's assessment that the Los Angeles Police Department had failed to change since scandals in the 1990s.
Others gave little credence to Dorner's manifesto, saying it showed him to be a mentally ill individual bent on destruction and personal revenge.