Law enforcement officials say the ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner – who waged a personal war with authorities over the course of two weeks – died of a single gunshot wound to the head in a burning mountain cabin on Tuesday. San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials told reporters today that it appears the wound was self-inflicted. Dorner is accused of killing a couple in Irvine earlier this month, a Riverside police officer, and a San Bernardino County sheriff’s detective.
The manhunt for Dorner centered around the small town of Big Bear Lake, and came as a shock to the community.
The Big Bear Valley is home to under 20,000 full-time residents. Because it’s a resort town known for outdoor recreation, locals are used to vacationers flooding the community during weekends and holidays. But on February 7, roadside digital signs began warning drivers of a certain gray Nissan thought to be in the area. For those who’d been following the manhunt for Christopher Dorner as he crisscrossed southern California, it was a signal that their close-knit community was about to see an invasion of an entirely different sort. Within hours, law enforcement personnel from throughout the region, along with the FBI, US Forest Service and CalFire were searching the forest where Dorner’s car crashed, and nearby neighborhoods.
This piece was produced by Vannesa Finney and originally aired during KCRW’s broadcast of All Things Considered.