Christopher Dorner confirmed dead, says San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department
Los Angeles News Group -- Authorities on Thursday identified charred remains they pulled from a remote cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains as those of Christopher Dorner, 33, the fugitive former Los Angeles police officer.
San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller said the identification was made through dental records. Miller did not say how Dorner died.
The announcement followed a threat of a cyber attack on the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office. The threat apparently came from a group of online hackers known as Anonymous. The group said it was angered that Dorner was killed in a fire started by a tear gas canister.
"Burning another #Human life Just listen to yourselves," Anon_Online tweeted to 13,000 followers at 1:32 a.m. Wednesday. "You can #Expect us."
Officials with the D.A.'s Office did not respond to requests for comment.
The threatening tweet had a link to a YouTube video that contains audio of Tuesday's standoff between sheriff's deputies and Dorner.
Nonetheless, Los Angeles police officials confirmed Thursday that they had lifted protective details assigned to the families of high-ranking officers, LAPD spokeswoman Rosario Herrera said. About 50 people had been guarded at the height of the Dorner manhunt.
Dorner was killed on Tuesday in a firefight near Barton Flats in the San Bernardino Mountains.
With the of confirmation Dorner's death on Thursday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigoa and Police Chief Charlie Beck addressed the $1million reward issue.
"More than 20 jurisdictions and entities are involved in the reward, so all of them will be coming together to collectively determine whether any individual or individuals qualify for it. Our personal hope is that the reward will be distributed, but we must follow the rules and respect the procedures of each entity," they said in a joint statement.
Meanwhile, in La Palma, Dorner's mother, Nancy Dorner, sent condolences to those killed or wounded by her son in a statement to Robin Sax, an attorney and a Fox 11 legal analyst.
"It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we express our deepest sympathies and condolences to anyone that suffered losses or injuries resulting from Christopher's actions," the statement read. "We do not condone Christopher's actions."
Authorities say Dorner killed four people, including a Riverside police officer and a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy, during his revenge-fueled attacks. The attacks wounded two others - a Riverside police officer and a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy.
Dorner is believed to have killed Monica Quan, 28; her fiance Keith Lawrence, 27; Riverside police Officer Michael Crain, 34; and San Bernardino County sheriff's Deputy Jeremiah MacKay, 35.
MacKay's partner Alex Collins was seriously wounded in an exchange of gunfire on Tuesday.
A police officer stationed at Loma Linda University Medical Center, where Collins has been hospitalized, said the wounded deputy is doing well.
On Thursday, the Riverside Police Department identified Crain's partner as Andrew Tachias, who was wounded in the Feb. 7 attack that left Crain dead. Tachias joined the Riverside Police Department on Dec. 21. He had transferred from the Inglewood Police Department, where he was hired in 2009. Tachias, a UC Riverside graduate, was recovering from his wounds in a hospital.
Several messages were left in support of MacKay, Collins and their compatriots outside the sheriff's Big Bear Lake station on Thursday.
"To cops, thank you for protecting us from Dorner and thank you for risking your life for us," was one of the messages, written in marker in a child's handwriting.
Another child wrote: "I'm sorry you died."
The children's messages of support contrast with anger directed toward Southern California law enforcement from some on the Internet.
Since the manhunt for Dorner began in earnest Feb. 7, a likely small - but vocal - contingent proclaimed themselves supporters of Dorner's self-declared war against police officers and their families.
Anonymous announced its "Operation: Dorner," aimed at the Los Angeles Police Department, via a YouTube video on Monday.
The video's narrator asserted "We do not condone the vicious acts that Dorner has allegedly partaken in. Instead, we sympathize and resonate with his struggle."
In his Facebook manifesto, Dorner claimed he was fighting "unconventional and asymmetrical warfare" against the LAPD in revenge for his 2009 firing from the department. Dorner claimed he was willing to commit "horrendous murders" to clear his name and that he was fired in retaliation for reporting his training officer's unjust use of force.
Following multiple incidents of police firing upon people mistakenly believed to be Dorner, the Anonymous video claimed law enforcement planned to kill Dorner without any attempt at due process and called upon hackers to attack the LAPD.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department largely stopped communicating with the media on Thursday. On Wednesday, Sheriff John McMahon's news conference was cut short when reporters asked questions about the location of Dorner's hideout and the use of pyrotechnic tear gas canisters.
Sheriff's officials said they will have a news conference at 4 p.m. today.
Larry Smith, a retired Fontana police officer who also worked as a training specialist for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Academy, said Thursday deputies' use of the tear gas was tactically sound and not intended to start a fire.
When the tear gas canisters were fired into the cabin near Barton Flats, MacKay had been mortally wounded and Collins was also hurt.
"I know they burned it down, but do you really want to lose another officer?" Smith asked.
As of Thursday morning, life had yet to return to normal for the people who live near the cabin where Dorner made his last stand.
At The Oaks Restaurant in the mountain community of Angelus Oaks, waitress Deanna Fink said she's been keeping in contact with her father and stepmother by phone because they have been ordered not to leave their homes.
"You cannot leave," Fink said. "The FBI actually came down and told them to stay inside their houses."
Fink, 28, and a San Bernardino resident, said the Seven Oaks area where Dorner died has about two dozen permanent residents and the rest are seasonal.
Others in the San Bernardino Mountains expressed some disappointment that search teams did not find Dorner sooner.
Dean Johnson, a computer programmer who lives two doors down from the Club View Drive condominium complex in Big Bear Lake where Dorner is believed to have hidden, said he never got the knock on the door from sheriff's deputies and doesn't believe authorities searched the homes on Club View closest to the police command post and facing the Bear Mountain ski resort.
"I never saw them going around the nearby houses, only the ones a block or two or further away," said Johnson, 57, a 12-year Big Bear Lake resident. "That's because everybody was here. All the cops were here. The command center was here."
He said the possibility of Dorner being holed up in a residence near him, let alone just a couple of doors down, didn't shake him one bit.
"There's no reason for me to be scared. I own a gun and know how to use it," said Johnson, adding that he didn't believe it would even be likely given that Dorner appeared to have been targeting only police officers or members of their families.
San Bermardino County sheriff's Deputy Chief Kevin Kovensky said at Tuesday's news conference that deputies conducted an extensive search of the Club View Drive area at the beginning of their search.
Bill Haviland, who lives on that strip of Club View, praised the Sheriff's Department for the way it handled the Dorner situation. He said armed deputies clad in armored clothing and helmets canvassed the neighborhood, placing yellow flags at properties where no one answered the door.
"They knocked on the door and asked if we were OK," said Haviland, 63.
He said the deputy identified himself, and that four or five other deputies were standing in the driveway backing him up, the protective face shields on their helmets pushed up.
Criminologists at Cal State San Bernardino have cautioned against second-guessing the deputies' search.
Cal State San Bernardino professor Stephen Tibbetts said Wednesday the heavy law enforcement presence may well have kept Dorner confined instead of allowing him to flee the country or make further attacks on law enforcement.
His colleague, Brian Levin, said the time is far too early for any Monday morning quarterbacking.
"We don't know at this point the exact sequence of events, and that will come out, and whatever does come out will be studied extensively by future first responders," said Levin, a former New York Police Department officer.
The manhunt in the mountains began Feb. 7 after Dorner's truck was discovered near Bear Mountain ski resort in Big Bear Lake. Dorner eluded discovery until Tuesday, when he was found by Jim and Karen Reynolds, who own the condominium in the 1200 block of Club View where Dorner was hiding.
It is not confirmed how long Dorner was in the condo, although the Reynoldses told the Associated Press that they believe he was in hiding there for five days.
It was around 1 p.m. Tuesday when state Fish and Wildlife wardens aiding the manhunt spotted Dorner, in the Reynolds' stolen Rogue, on Highway 38.
The wardens made a u-turn and gave chase. Dorner turned off the highway onto Glass Road, and crashed. He then carjacked a silver pickup from motorist Rick Heltebrake, a Boy Scout camp ranger who was driving with his dog.
Dorner told Heltebrake he did not want to hurt him and drove off in the newly stolen vehicle. Behind the wheel, he was soon confronted by three game wardens in two trucks. Dorner then was not so merciful, and reportedly fired more than a dozen bullets at the wardens.
Dorner crashed and ran from the highway, taking cover in the Barton Flats area cabin where the chase - and his life - would end.
Had Dorner been taken alive, prosecutors would have sought to have him executed if he was convicted of murder. Riverside County officials filed capital murder charges related to Crain's death before Dorner's death.
Orange County officials reported that they refrained from filing court documents during the manhunt, but had drafted a complaint charging Dorner with Quan's and Lawrence's murders.
The Orange County district attorney would have likely asked for the death penalty, authorities said.