Questions over alleged US cop killer's final stand

Questions over alleged US cop killer's final stand

LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse
Questions over alleged US cop killers final stand

Rick Heltebrake, who called police informing them that fugitive Christopher Dorner had hijacked his car, talks to the media with his dog Suni about the ordeal in Angelus Oaks, California, February 13, 2013. AFP Photo

U.S. police denied Feb. 13 deliberately setting fire to a mountain cabin in which an alleged cop killer is thought to have died, saying they faced a warzone-like shootout after a six-day manhunt.

Christopher Dorner, the 33-year-old former policeman accused of killing four people, was believed dead, although experts have not yet positively identified the remains found in the burnt-out cabin. Dorner became the subject of intense debate on social media during the week he spent on the run, after posting a chilling online manifesto threatening to kill police he blamed for his 2008 sacking, but also alleging unfair treatment.

The manhunt came to a climax on Feb. 12 in a cabin near the snow-covered ski resort of Big Bear, two hours east of Los Angeles, where he died after a gunfight with SWAT marksmen. He was earlier spotted with a stolen vehicle. Dramatic video footage emerged of officers surrounding the cabin where the suspect had barricaded himself, with a barrage of gunfire audible, including some possibly from exploding ammunition as fire took hold of the cabin.

“It was like a warzone, and our deputies continued to go in... and try to neutralize” the suspect, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon told reporters. “The rounds kept coming, but our deputies didn’t give up. “They are true heroes,” he said in the latest update about 24 hours after the final shootout and inferno. Human remains were found overnight in the charred debris of the cabin near Big Bear. Police lifted a state of alert but maintained protection for officers and families Dorner threatened in his manifesto.

Dorner lost his job with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in 2008 after a police board of inquiry found he had lied in accusing a training officer of using excessive force against a homeless man