Report: Charred body found in California cabin - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Report: Charred body found in California cabin

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Christopher Dorner Christopher Dorner
LOS ANGELES -

A Sheriff's spokeswoman confirmed charred human remains were found in the rubble of a burned cabin in California where a former Los Angeles police officer was believed to be holed up after a shootout that killed a deputy.

Los Angeles police originally denied a report of the remains, saying the fire scene was "too hot" for officers to enter and investigate. The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department later held a press conference saying they believe former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner was in the cabin when it caught fire.

Law enforcement officers engaged in a gun battle in the mountains of California with a person believed to be Dorner. Two officers were wounded in the shootout, one of them fatally.

The other deputy is in critical condition, but is expected to survive.

It was believed Dorner is holed up in a cabin, although police would not confirm his identity at a news conference shortly before 8:00 pm (EST). Video from news helicopters in the area showed heavy smoke and flames coming from a heavily-wooded area around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that the person inside the cabin never came out when it became engulfed in flames.

The official, who requested anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, said a single gunshot apparently fired inside the cabin was heard just before the fire broke out Tuesday.

Officials were waiting for the fire to burn out before approaching the ruins to search for a body.

It has not been confirmed if the person inside the cabin - alleged to be Dorner - set the it on fire, or if police action led to the blaze.

Police say the suspect in the cabin allegedly stole a vehicle in the Big Bear, California area, about 80 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The victims said the suspect matched a description of Dorner, but they could not confirm that it was the former officer.

"If this is Christopher Dorner here, he's now responsible for the murder of four people and attempt murder of three others," said Cindy Bachman, San Bernadino County Sheriff's Department.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Miller says the battle started at 12:42 p.m. Tuesday, which is about 20 minutes after the vehicle was reported stolen nearby. The suspect retreated on foot into the woods and reportedly went to the cabin.

Miller says that after the initial exchange of gunfire with the wardens, there was a second exchange with sheriff's deputies. The injuries to the deputies occurred during the second shootout. 

The noise of the gun battle was broadcast by KCAL-TV, whose reporter suddenly found himself near the fight. Someone could be heard yelling at the reporter to get out of the area.

Road blocks are up around Big Bear, where Dorner's burned-out pickup was found Thursday. Schools in the area are on lockdown.

As the crow flies, the cabin is about five miles from where Dorner's pickup was found Thursday, though a ridge with peaks topping 8,000 feet lies between the locations. By road, the areas are about 30 miles apart.

The manhunt for Dorner began Wednesday. In an online post, he targeted dozens of people he feels are responsible for his firing from the LAPD in 2008.

See live updates here.

The officer tells The Associated Press it's believed Christopher Dorner committed a residential burglary of a cabin and had a couple tied up in the cabin. One was able to get away and make a call.

Authorities have been conducting a manhunt in the area since last week.

Dorner is accused of killing a couple and another officer. He posted a manifesto online after being fired from the Los Angeles Police Department.

Ex-LAPD Officer Chris Dorner manifesto: Read it now

See a timeline of events leading up to today.

This is a developing story that will be updated. Refresh this page to see the latest.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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