A pair of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies were struck by gunfire during an exchange with a man believed to be fugitive Christopher Dorner. One of those deputies died from his injuries. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Jodi Miller says the "brotherhood of law enforcement" is mourning the death. Kim Baldonado reports from Loma Linda for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Feb. 12, 2013.
A San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department deputy has died and another was wounded in a shootout that may have involved fugitive ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner.
The two deputies were called to a report of a man believed to be Dorner, who was suspected of stealing a white pickup truck in the mountains near Big Bear Lake.
Gunfire between the man believed to be Dorner and law enforcement officials began when a California Department of Fish and Wildlife warden spotted a driver resembling Dorner on Highway 38 about 12:45 p.m., said Lt. Patrick Foy.
Foy said the man was driving a purple Nissan when the warden spotted him. The driver then crashed the Nissan before allegedly carjacking a white pickup truck, Foy said.
The first warden to spot the man called for backup and three wardens in two separate trucks began pursuing the driver, Foy said. The driver rolled down his window and fired at a CDFW vehicle carrying two officers, but they were not injured.
The driver then fled into the forest and barricaded himself in a cabin. Sheriff's Department deputies responded to that cabin in the unincorporated Angelus Oaks community.
Some 500 rounds of ammunition were exchanged in a gunfight that followed at the cabin, and the two deputies were hit.
The deputies were taken about 2:30 p.m. to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where one was pronounced dead, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said at a news conference at the hospital.
The other deputy underwent surgery and was out of the operating room as of 11 p.m., authorities said, adding that deputy is expected to need more surgeries.
The deputy who died Tuesday may be the second law enforcement official Dorner is alleged to have killed.
Last week, a man believed to be Dorner allegedly ambushed two on-duty Riverside police officers while they were stopped at a red light, killing a 34-year-old officer and wounding his 27-year-old partner.
"Law enforcement is a very close-knit family. All law enforcement agencies is a brotherhood. Again, this is a very difficult day for law enforcement," Jodi Miller, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, said at a news conference Tuesday.
Deputies initially responded to a stolen vehicle report at 12:22 p.m. in the 1200 block of Club View Drive, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. A man matching Dorner's description stole a white 2005 RAM pickup, according to the report.
It was shortly after that report that the CDFW officer spotted the driver matching Dorner's description.
The man believed to be Dorner allegedly held a woman and her daughter, both housekeepers, hostage at a Big Bear cabin near a command center that was set up to coordinate the multi-agency search, according to sources inside the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. The pair was interviewed by investigators and released.
Authorities did not release any identifying details about the officers involved in the fatal gunfight.
The manhunt for Dorner turned to Big Bear last Thursday when Dorner’s burned-out pickup truck was found on a forestry road.
He is suspected of killing the daughter of a retired LAPD captain, her fiancé, and a Riverside police officer.
Investigators believe the slayings are connected to an angry manifesto published on Dorner’s Facebook page that laid out plans to kill law enforcement officers and their families.
Dorner used the manifesto to recount his firing and declare his innocence. He was fired from the LAPD in 2008, after reporting another officer for alleged brutality – an accusation that investigators later said was false.
In the 11,400-word document, Dorner said the violence will end when the department clears his name.
"The attacks will stop when the department states the truth about my innocence, PUBLICLY!!! I will not accept any type of currency/goods in exchange for the attacks to stop, nor do i want it. I want my name back, period," he wrote in the document published on his Facebook page. "There is no negotiation."
On Saturday, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the department would reopen the case into Dorner’s termination from the force.