Manhunt • Cabin fire not intentional, says sheriff.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Los Angeles • There was no question. The man standing before Rick Heltebrake on a rural mountain road was Christopher Dorner.
Clad in camouflage from head to toe and wearing a bulletproof vest packed with ammunition, the most wanted man in America during the last week was just a few feet away, having emerged from a grove holding an assault-style rifle.
As teams of officers who had sought the fugitive since last week were closing in, Dorner pointed the gun at Heltebrake and ordered him to get out of his truck.
"I don't want to hurt you. Start walking and take your dog," Heltebrake recalled Dorner saying.
Dorner, who wasn't lugging any gear, got into the truck and drove away. Heltebrake called police when he heard a volley of gunfire soon after.
Police later caught up with the man they believe was Dorner, surrounding a cabin in which he had taken refuge after crashing Heltebrake's truck 80 miles east of Los Angeles. A gunfight ensued in which one sheriff's deputy was killed and another wounded.
San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said his deputies did not intentionally burn down the cabin. A charred body was found in the basement, but authorities have not positively identified the remains.