Sheriff's Department: Manhunt Called Off, Cabin Fire Not Deliberate

Incendiary tear gas was used by law officers who were in a gun battle with fugitive murder suspect Christopher Jordan Dorner, according to unnamed law enforcement officials cited by the Los Angeles Times.

5:28 p.m. The second question posed Wednesday by reporters to San Bernardino County Sheriff John Mcmahon at a press conference about the events of Tuesday in Seven Oaks was, "The fire at the cabin, was it on purpose by the sheriff's department, something that happened as a result of tear gas that was fired in there, can you explain how that transpired? What happened?"

McMahon answered, "I can tell you that it was not on purpose. We did not intentionally burn down that cabin to get Mr. Dorner out. The tear gas canisters that we used , first off we used a presence when we showed up, secondly we used a cold tear gas, then we used, the next tear gas was that, pyrotechnic, does generate a lot of  heat. We had introduced those canisters into the residence and a fire erupted."

Followup question: "There was some chatter that was probably I guess it was on scanners, something about a burner. Can you explain what that is?"

McMahon answered, "The pyrotechnic type canisters are commonly referred to as 'burners.'"

5:08 p.m. The first question from reporters at Wednesday afternoon's press conference at the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department headquarters was "Can you confirm that Mr. Dorner, it was his remains that were found in that cabin last night?"

Sheriff McMahon answered, "I cannot absolutely positively confirm it's him. The suspect that we were following and also had stolen the vehicle matched his description, his behavior based on our deputies interaction with him inside the vacant cabin was consistent with Mr. Dorner's  activity prior to and we are not currently involved in a manhunt any longer.

"Our coroner's division is working on trying to confirm the identity through forensics and we should know that as some point here soon."

Update 4:58 p.m. San Bernardino Sheriff John McMahon opened an afternoon press conference with a statement recapping Tuesday's events in the Big Bear and Seven Oaks area.

McMahon appeared with representatives of the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the state Department of Fish and Game, Irvine police Chief David Maggard, Riverside police Chief Sergio Diaz and Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck.

"The events that occurred yesterday in the Big Bear area brought to a close an extensive manhunt for murder suspect Christopher Dorner,"  McMahon said.

"Our deputies in Big Bear responded to a report of a stolen vehicle with a subject matching the description of Dorner. It was later discovered that he crashed that vehicle and carjacked a vehicle in the Angelus Oaks area.

"The deputies continued searching that area for the new suspect vehicle, the white pickup truck, as well as Dorner. The deputies were able to locate the vehicle crashed and he, Dorner, fled into a vacant cabin.

"As the deputies were arriving, we believe suspect Dorner began firing and ambushed our deputy sheriffs that were responding.

"Two of our deputy sheriffs were struck by gunfire. One of which was severely injured. Deputy Alex Collins, he's currently at the hospital being treated. He went through a couple different surgeries, I just spoke to his wife. He's in good spirits and should make a full recovery after a number of additional surgeries.

"Unfortunately our other deputy, Detective Jeremiah MacKay was pronounced deceased at 2:24 p.m. yesterday at the hospital. Detective McKay is 35 years old, and has been a member of our department for 15 years. He's married and has two children, a 7-hr-old daughter and a 4-month-old son. He's presently assigned to the Yucaipa Station but had also been a detective at the Big Bear Station. My sincere condolences go out to the McKay family.

"This is truly another sad day for law enforcement. Our department is grieving from this event. It's just a terrible deal for all of us, the folks that are up here with me as well have also been dealing with this suspect's behavior over the last week. We believe that this investigation is over at this point. And we'll just need to move on from here.

"I will tell ya that the deputies that responded to this active shooting scene yesterday, absolutely true heroes. There were rounds being fired as you saw on some of the news coverage was absolutely incredible. It was like a war zone and our deputies continued to go into that area and try to neutralize, stop the threat. The rounds kept coming but the deputies didn't give up.

"Our deputy sheriffs are some true heroes, they're highly trained and will tell you that I'm proud to be a member of this department, and our deputy sheriffs did a great job yesterday. Thank you."

Reporters were given a brief time to ask questions.

Update 4:20 p.m: Sheriff John McMahon of the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department said at a press conference that while the Coroner's Department has not yet identified the shooter's body as Dorner's, the department is calling the manhunt for Dorner off and suggested the department believes Dorner was the shooter.

He also said that deputies on scene did not delibarately burn down the cabin - pyrotechnic tear gas that can cause a fire was used after regular tear gas failed to get Dorner out of the cabin, he said.

McMahon also identified the slain deputy from the shooting as Jeremiah Mackay, a 35-year-old officer working out of the department's Yucaipa station.

Update 4:08 p.m. The deputy who was fatally injured in a shootout with fugitive Christopher Jordan Dorner was identified Wednesday afternoon by San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon as a 35-year-old Yucaipa detective who was married with two children.

Detective Jeremiah MacKay, 35, was a 15-year veteran with the department, McMahon said.

Update 3:58 p.m. State Route 38 is open after being closed since the shootout Tuesday with ex-LAPD cop Christopher Jordan Dorner ended with a burned cabin and a body inside, the California Highway Patrol announced just before 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Glass Road and Forest Road 1N04 in and out of the Seven Oaks area are still closed, CHP Officer Benjamin Baker said.

Update 3:38 p.m. Law enforcement officers who believed they were in a shootout with rogue ex-LAPD cop Christopher Jordan Dorner tossed incendiary tear gas into the cabin where the murder suspect was reportedly hiding Feb. 12, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday, citing unnamed law enforcement officials.

The cabin caught fire and a body was discovered inside. San Bernardino County sheriff's officials said Tuesday night they would attempt to confirm the deceased "through forensic means."

The shootout on Glass Road in the Seven Oaks area east of Angelus Oaks began when Dorner allegedly fatally shot a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy and seriously injured another, department officials said.

"Law enforcement sources said the officers got into several gun battles with Dorner during a nearly four-hour siege at the cabin," The Times reported.

Posted 1:18 p.m. Reports began surfacing Wednesday that law enforcement authorities were responsible for firing the cabin in which it was believed murder suspect Christopher Dorner was barricaded.

In a story published by the Huffington Post, unconfirmed law enforcement audio -- picked up from a live televised newscast -- seems to indicate that peace officers were discussing burning the (expletive) cabin down.

HuffPo reported that: "'on CBS affiliate KCAL-TV on Tuesday, frantic voices of officers can be heard, including one officer apparently saying "Burn it down" or "Burn him out," while another officer appears to shout, "F***ing burn this motherf****r!"'

In a video published on YouTube, voices can be heard saying, "We're gonna go forward with the plan, with the burn ... Like we talked about."

A little later a man can be heard saying: "Seven burners deployed and we have a fire." A dispatcher says, "Copy. Seven burners deployed and we have a fire."'

Later on in the audio portion, a voice can be heard saying .... "we have fire in the front, he might come out back."

And later still, police scanners indicate that one shot was fired from inside the cabin.

"Copy one shot fired from inside the residence, confirming you still want fire to run," a dispatcher can be heard saying.

The man's voice: "roll in and stage."

Later on, a dispatcher says, "copy, more ammo going off."

Firefighters stood by and let the cabin burn, while live television crews trained their cameras on the scene and viewers watch as the cabin burned to a gutted hulk.

Calls and emails to San Bernardino sheriff's officials yielded no comment on the deliberate fire reports.

Remains found at the cabin have yet to be identified as Dorner's but published reports have indicated that the suspect's driver's license was found near the charred body.

Some news outlets are quoting sources blaming incendiary tear gas for the fire that engulfed the cabin.

The charred remains were found after an hours-long standoff Tuesday at a cabin east of Angelus Oaks.

The standoff began following a shootout during which two peace officers were wounded -- one of them fatally.

Dorner is suspected ofand on Tuesday, a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy.

He is also accused of wounding a Riverside police officer and another SBCSD deputy.


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