Mistakes Credited in Ex-L.A. Cop's Capture

When it came to keeping ahead of the law during his deadly rampage, Christopher Dorner reportedly made one mistake after another.


He may have caught a break when he found refuge in a vacant vacation cabin just across the street from a command post established for the hundreds of officers frantically searching for him.

Despite a search that involved helicopters and bloodhounds and officers going door-to-door checking hundreds of cabins, Dornerremained out of sight until he was discovered Tuesday at the cabin near the command post.

San Bernardino County Deputy Chief Steve Kovensky said searchers had not seen any forced entry when they checked it, but he could not provide details about exactly when that check was made.

Authorities, for the most part, looked at cabins boarded up for the winter, said Dan Sforza, assistant chief of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and often didn't enter occupied homes where nothing appeared amiss.

As he fled in the Nissan, Dorner managed to elude authorities for a time by pulling behind two school buses and making a quick turn onto a mountain road. But he crashed the car there and had to steal another.

That's when he confronted Rick Heltebrake, a ranger who takes care of a Boy Scout camp nearby, and took his pickup. Heltebrake was checking the perimeter of the camp for anything out of the ordinary when he saw Dorner emerge from behind some trees. He was dressed in military fatigues and holding a semi-automatic-style rifle.

"I don't want to hurt you. Start walking and take your dog," Heltebrake recalled Dorner saying as he pointed the gun at him. He fled with his 3-year-old Dalmatian, Suni, and immediately called police, who quickly found the suspect again.

This time he opened fire as he drove past a car carrying game wardens looking for him. One of them got out of his own vehicle and returned fire from his high-powered, semi-automatic rifle but apparently missed.

Out of options after crashing the pickup, the driver made a break for a cabin and barricaded himself inside, where he made his last stand.

Dorner's mother released a family statement to the FOX affiliate in Los Angeles disavowing her son's actions in his final weeks.

"It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we express our deepest sympathies and condolences to anyone that suffered losses or injuries resulting from Christopher's actions. We do not condone Christopher's actions," said the statement Nancy Dorner gave to KTTV-TV. "The family has no further comments and ask that our privacy be respected during this difficult time."

San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremiah MacKay was killed during that final gunfight and another deputy was wounded.

MacKay, a detective who had been with the department 15 years, had a wife, 7-year-old daughter and 4-month-old son, sheriff's officials said. He had spoken to AP just last weekend, saying he hopedDorner could be taken into custody without any more violence.

"You just never know if the guy's going to pop out or where he's going to pop out," MacKay told an AP reporter. "We're hoping this comes to a close without any more casualties."

If Dorner's body is identified, he'll be the final casualty.

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Associated Press writers Christopher Weber in San Bernardino and John Rogers in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

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

 

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