The manhunt for a fired Los Angeles Police Department officer suspected in the slayings of four people wound down after charred human remains were found Tuesday in the burned-out mountain cabin where he is believed to have been holed up during a gun battle that claimed the life of a San Bernardino sheriff’s deputy.
But about a dozen LAPD families threatened in a manifesto allegedly posted by Christopher Jordan Dorner last week will continue to receive special protection as officials work to confirm that the remains found Tuesday in the cabin on Seven Oaks Road just off Highway 38 near Big Bear are those of the 33-year-old former officer, Los Angeles police said Wednesday.
“The LAPD has now moved back into a normal state of police operation,” LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman, a department spokesman, said at a briefing at LAPD headquarters. “That began late last night, and will continue now as far as … normal patrol operations.”
But Neiman said the protective details “will remain in place until the department and the protectees feel safe.”
Neiman noted that investigations were continuing into whether Dorner had any accomplices. He said it was not yet known if anyone would receive any of the reward money – $1.1 million – that had been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.
According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, the determination of whether the remains are those of Dorner – suspected in the slayings last week of two people in Irvine and a police officer in Riverside –will be made through forensic examination.
Dorner – the subject of a six-day manhunt – is believed to have been the man who stole one vehicle and carjacked another, then shot and killed one San Bernardino sheriff’s deputy and wounded another while barricaded in the cabin, which caught fire shortly before 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, authorities said.
The fire burned for several hours, delaying the entry of law enforcement personnel.
“We believe that someone was inside and that was the person who stole the vehicle and fled, then abandoned the vehicle, ran into the forest and inside this cabin, where he barricaded himself and was engaged in gunfire with our deputy sheriff, shot two of our deputy sheriffs and one of those deputies died,” said San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Cindy
Bachman. She said investigators had reason to believe the person holed up in the cabin was Dorner.
No one was seen emerging from the cabin, and by about 6:30 p.m., reports from the scene indicated remains believed to be Dorner’s had been found inside, although law enforcement officials did not confirm the discovery.
Earlier this week, Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck ordered a review of Christopher Dorner’s 2007 complaint and an investigation of allegations of unfair treatment in his termination from the LAPD made in his manifesto.
Several Facebook pages and hundreds of comments have sprung up in support of Dorner’s accusations against the LAPD as a racist institution.
“The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days,” Dorner allegedly wrote in a 6,000-word manifesto posted on Facebook.
Beck said he was taking the action “to reassure the public that their police department is transparent and fair in all the things we do,” and “not to appease a murderer.”
Beck said he directed members of the Professionals Standards Bureau and the Special Assistant for Constitutional Policing personnel to completely review Dorner’s complaint from 2007, including another examination of all the evidence and another interview of the witnesses.
“We will also investigate any allegations made in his manifesto which were not included in his original complaint,” Beck said.
Dorner worked as a police officer from Feb. 7, 2005, until Sept. 4, 2008, “when his employment was terminated” for allegedly making false statements about his training officer, according to police records.
Beck said it has been hard to change the culture of the LAPD, but it is a better organization now than ever before.
“I am aware of the ghosts of the LAPD’s past and one of my biggest concerns is that they will be resurrected by Dorner’s allegations of racism within the department,” Beck said. “Dorner’s actions may cause a pause in our increasingly positive relationship with the community, but it will not stop our commitment to provide courteous, professional and constitutional policing to each individual this department makes contact with.”