The fire that may have killed renegade former police officer Christopher Dorner might have been started by police, a report from the Guardian newspaper said.
There were concerns that tear gas canisters might have triggered the fire that consumed the cabin where Dorner barricaded himself.
Dorner, an alleged cop-killer who was the subject of a massive manhunt in Southern California, apparently got into a shootout with police officers in the cabin, located in Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles, according to live video footage recorded during the incident. However, details of the incident still remain unclear, and police have released few details.
An identification with the name Christopher Dorner and other personal belongings were found in the burned out husk of the cabin. A charred body was also discovered inside, prompting police to “have reason to believe that it is him [Dorner],” San Bernardino County Police spokeswoman Cynthia Bachman told The Associated Press.
Dorner, who was fired from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) several years ago, is believed to have killed four people, including one police officer in a shootout Tuesday night near the cabin, and he posted online that he would target LAPD officers and their families. He claimed that he was subjected to racism when he was fired.
The Guardian cited an apparent police scanner recording of officers outside the cabin saying they are “going forward with the plan, with, er, with the burn” or “burner.” The paper noted that burner could be a slang term used for tear gas or “BurnSafe” containers of CS gas canisters, which are used by the LAPD but not the San Bernardino County sheriff’s office.
The Associated Press reported that police shot tear gas canisters into the building and told the suspect, “Surrender or come out.” An armored vehicle then tore down the walls of the cabin.
An unnamed law enforcement official told AP that a single shot was heard in the cabin before it erupted into flames.
A male voice in the police scanner conversation, which was not verified to be authentic, also said, “Seven burners deployed and we have a fire,” and another male voice later added, “Guys, be ready on the No. 4 side. We have fire in the front. He might come out the back.”
A voice in a recording from KCAL-TV, a local station covering the raid, appears to say, “we’re going to burn him out” and “burn this [expletive].”
The video that was cited by the Guardian surfaced on YouTube Tuesday and appears to be a recording of a police officer. “We’re gonna go forward with the plan, with the burn … Like we talked about,” a voice says. Later, a male voice says that a “burner has been deployed and we have a fire,” which was repeated by a female dispatcher.
On Tuesday, a video of a purported recording from CBS-2 was uploaded to YouTube. Voices are heard in the footage saying, “shoot the gas” and “burn it down.”
Max Blumenthal, a journalist, also live-tweeted the police raid Tuesday. “The burner’s deployed and we have a fire,” he quoted police department scanners as saying.
He added, “Sheriffs have set #Dorner cabin on fire or so it seems.”
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