Forensic experts will determine whether the charred remains found Tuesday after a deadly shootout at a Big Bear-area cabin are those of Christopher Dorner -- the former LAPD officer wanted in a series of shooting deaths that were part of a revenge plot involving law enforcement agents and their families.
Investigators remained Wednesday at the burned cabin where a man believed to be Dorner was involved in a shootout that killed a San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputy -- one of four deaths connected to the 33-year-old fired officer in a revenge plot that targeted law enforcement officers and their families.
The slain officer was identified Wednesday afternoon as Detective Jeremiah MacKay, 35. The father of two young children, MacKay was a 15-year veteran of the department, Sheriff John McMahon said in a press conference.
Deputy Alex Collins was also struck during the shootout and is expected to recover after surgeries at Loma Linda University Medical Center, McMahon said.
A positive identification of the charred remains found in the cabin will require forensics tests, authorities said.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Dorner's driver's license was found in the cabin. The AP cited a source who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.
Positive identification might require days or weeks to complete, police said.
"Those types of identifications can be expedited, and I'm sure everything will be done to do that in this case," LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said at a Wednesday morning news conference.
Until that identification is confirmed, the LAPD will continue protecting law enforcement officers and their families that were named as possible targets in an 11,400-word manifesto apparently written by Dorner, according to the LAPD.
Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.
"About a dozen or so" subjects mentioned in the Dorner document remain under protection, Neiman said.
Neiman did not provide details on the investigation in the San Bernardino Mountains, adding that San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department investigators will address questions regarding events at the cabin. The sheriff's department planned to conduct a news conference Wednesday, but it was not immediately clear when that would occur.
The homicide investigations involving Dorner will continue, Neiman added.
"We don’t just stop a murder case simply because we suspect that the suspect in that case is no longer with us," Neiman said. "There are some families that are literally traumatized."
A man believed to be Dorner entered the cabin Tuesday afternoon after abandoning a stolen vehicle near Highway 38 at Seven Oaks Mountain Cabins in the unincorporated community of Angelus Oaks (map). The man never came out of the structure, which was destroyed in the fire.
It is not clear how the fire started, and McMahon on Wednesday said that authorities were not involved in starting the blaze.
"We did not intentionally burn down that cabin to get Mr. Dorner out," the sheriff said.
Several walls of the cabin were knocked down with an armored vehicle, then authorities heard a single gunshot from inside, a law enforcement source told NBC4.
The cabins are southwest of Big Bear, where Dorner's burned-out vehicle was discovered Thursday after he allegedly shot and killed a Riverside police officer.
Brief Pursuit Leads to Cabin Shootout
Events unfolded Tuesday after authorities initially responded to a stolen vehicle report at 12:22 p.m. in the 1200 block of Club View Drive in Big Bear, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
A man believed to be Dorner held a couple captive 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 two were interviewed by investigators and released.
The pair came to the house on Tuesday morning, surprising the man believed to be Dorner, who was inside, according to a spokesman for the California Fish and Wildlife Department.
The couple was tied up by the man, but the woman was able to free herself and call 911, officials said.
Initially, it was reported that the two captives were mother-daughter housekeepers. Mountain Vista Resort owners Karen and Jim Reynolds on Wednedsay night told media that they were tied up by the man before he stole their SUV.
After leaving the cabin, Dorner is believed to have stolen two vehicles before the gunfight.
A Department of Fish and Wildlife warden first noticed a driver matching the fugitive's description driving on Highway 38 at about 12:45 p.m. near Glass Road. The warden then called for backup and three additional CDFW wardens in two separate trucks began pursuing the driver, said Lt. Patrick Foy, with CDFW.
Foy said the man was driving a purple Nissan -- which he may have commandeered from the two captives -- when he was first spotted by the CDFW warden. The driver crashed the Nissan before carjacking a white pickup truck, Foy said.
One of the wardens exchanged gunfire with the subject before the man fled into the cabin, authorities said. Officers could hear audio of the cabin shootout, Neiman said.
"It was horrifying to listen to that firefight," Neiman said. "To hear those words, "officer down," is the most gut-wrenching experience you can have as a police officer."
The manhunt conducted over a widespread area of Southern California led to Big Bear Thursday after the discovery of Dorner's burned-out pickup south of Big Bear Lake. The truck was found about seven hours after Dorner shot and killed a Riverside police officer, according to investigators.
Officer Michael Crain's 10:30 a.m. memorial service was attended by some 8,000 people Wednesday.
NOTE: NBC4 incorrectly reported that the pair held captive inside a Big Bear cabin were mother-daughter housekeepers. A couple who own the Mountain Vista Resort on Clubview Drive on Wednesday evening told media that they were tied up by the man before he stole their SUV.