A SHERIFF’S spokeswoman says charred human remains have been found in the burned-out cabin where a fugitive former Los Angeles police officer was believed to be.
San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman Jodi Miller says the remains were found late on Tuesday after a shootout that killed one sheriff’s deputy and injured another.
Authorities believe Christopher Dorner barricaded himself inside the cabin and a fire later ensued.
Investigators will attempt to determine if the remains are Dorner’s through forensic tests.
Thousands of officers had been on the hunt for the former Navy reservist since police said he launched a campaign to exact revenge against the Los Angeles Police Department for his firing.
Police had been searching the snow-covered woods near Big Bear Lake, a resort town about 80 miles (130 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, after Dorner’s truck was found late last week.
Mr Dorner, who served in the Middle East with the US Navy before joining the LAPD in 2005, blames the killing spree on those behind his 2007 dismissal.
An appeals panel upheld an earlier ruling that he acted falsely and maliciously when he reported a colleague for kicking a mentally ill man.
His hate-filled Facebook “manifesto”, which appeared online last week, said his dismissal was an injustice and that he wanted to “reclaim my name”. In the essay he attacked police department officials and issued threats against specific officers.
“I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty. You will now live the life of the prey,” he wrote.
Officer Michael Crain was shot dead in his marked patrol car in an ambush in Riverside last Thursday; another officer was critically injured.
Earlier that day, an LAPD officer assigned to protect a colleague named in Mr Dorner’s manifesto was injured by a gunshot from the driver of a pick-up truck.
Three days before that, Monica Quan, 27, and her fiancé Keith Lawrence were shot dead in the car park of their apartment building in Irvine, South California. Ms Quan was the daughter of Randal Quan, who represented Mr Dorner when he was fired.
Mr Quan received a telephone call from Mr Dorner after her death saying he “should have done a better job of protecting his daughter,” according to Mr Dorner’s arrest warrant.
Charlie Beck, the chief of the LAPD, said this week he would re-open the investigation into Mr Dorner’s dismissal and that witnesses would be re-interviewed to see if justice was done. But he said that whatever the circumstances of Mr Dorner’s firing, his actions could not be excused.
“This is an act … of domestic terrorism,” Chief Beck said. “This is a man who has targeted those that we entrust to protect the public. His actions cannot go unanswered.”
More officers were allocated to protection duty for more than 50 colleagues and their families yesterday as detectives continued to follow up tips.