A man who came face-to-face with a fugitive ex-Los Angeles Police Department officer during a nearly weeklong manhunt that ended with a deadly shootout near Big Bear was denied a restraining order intended to delay reward payments to four other people.
LAPD Murder Manhunt: Timeline of Events
Richard Heltebrake was carjacked by Christopher Dorner in the woods near Big Bear Feb. 12. His attorney argued Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court that Heltebrake should be granted part of the $1 million reward in the case because he made a 911 call to report the carjacking.
A judge Friday denied the restraining order request, meaning payments to four other people who provided information about Dorner to police will not be delayed. Earlier this week, a panel of retired judges reviewed claims for the reward -- money for information leading to Dorner's capture -- and determined that Heltebrake was not entitled to the reward.
The panel ruled that four others -- a couple tied up by Dorner in their Big Bear home, a ski resort employee who reported Dorner's burning pickup near the mountain community and a tow truck driver who spotted the manhunt subject at a fuel station -- should receive portions of the reward money.
Officers said they already knew Dorner was in the Big Bear area before Heltebrake's 911 call. His attorney argued that Heltebrake is being treated unfairly.
"I think lost in this whole process is that Mr. Heltebrake was the victim of a violent crime with Mr. Dorner pointing a rifle at him, and is basically getting the shaft by the city," said attorney Allen Thomas.
Heltebrake has said he intends to sue the city to obtain part of the reward money. The judge in Friday's hearing ruled that there was no reason to delay the payments to the other parties because the outcome of that lawsuit could later determine whether Heltebrake will receive money.
The search for Dorner, whose LAPD employment was terminated in 2008, began three days after the shooting deaths of a former LAPD captain's daughter and her fiance in Irvine. The search led to Riverside, where Dorner shot and killed a police officer at a traffic light, then to Big Bear, where ski resort employee Daniel McGowan told police he spotted Dorner's pickup on fire Feb. 7 in the woods.
McGowan will receive 15 percent of the reward. Lee McDaniel, a Corona tow truck driver who spotted Dorner at an am/pm gas station during the manhunt, will receive 5 percent of the reward.
The bulk of the reward -- 80 percent -- will go to James and Karen Reynolds. They were tied up after coming home to find Dorner in their Big Bear home.
The panel of judges ruled that if the couple had not escaped their restraints and notified police, Dorner would have escaped. Heltebrake's encounter with Dorner occurred after the armed subject fled the Reynolds' residence.
"I stopped my truck, put it in park, raised my hands, and he said, 'I don't want to hurt you; just get out and start walking up the road and take your dog,' which is what I did," Heltebrake said in an interview one day after the encounter. "He was very calm. I stayed calm."
Minutes later, Dorner engaged San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies at a nearby cabin. One deputy was killed in the shootout.
Dorner, 33, died of a single gunshot wound to the head that was likely self-inflicted, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department authorities.