Return to Transcripts main page


Dorner's Fate Unknown After Fire

Aired February 12, 2013 - 23:59   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. Welcome to this live edition of A.C. 360.

It has been a dramatic day outside of Big Bear, California, and the manhunt for former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner. And the drama is continuing well into the night.

Earlier in the evening, we heard from multiple sources that body was pulled from a burned cabin and it was indeed Dorner's body. Less than an hour ago, however, Commander Andrew Smith with the Los Angeles Police Department says that is not true, that the cabin is simply too hot for anyone to get into it and that no body has therefore been found.

Here's what he said.


CMDR. ANDREW SMITH, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: That cabin is still too hot for anybody to make entry. There has been no body located inside to that cabin. That cabin has not yet been searched because the fire is still too hot as of five minutes ago for anybody to go into there. Any reports of a body being found are not true. No body has yet been found in there. Any reports that that body has been identified as Christopher Dorner are not true. Nobody has been identified and nobody has been located.


COOPER: Just a short time ago, the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department also gave a news conference. The spokeswoman there saying they are confident that someone was inside that cabin. They have reason to believe it was Dorner and they believe he's still inside even though the building has burned down. We'll have more on those statements in just a moment.

First, here's more of what we know right now:

Dorner was thought to be holed up in this cabin after a gunfight with law enforcement that left one deputy dead and another injured. We're going to hear from a member of the family that owns the cabin in just a moment.

The cabin outside caught on fire earlier tonight after tactical operation involving a SWAT team. The roadways were then cleared later on to let firefighters in to put out the fire.

Here's how it all started:

Earlier today, police got a report of a carjacking the victims said the suspect looked like Dorner. The suspect then fled into the woods, barricaded himself inside that cabin. Gunfire was exchanged and during that gun battle, one deputy was killed and another was injured, airlifted to a hospital. The second deputy is expected to survive according to San Bernardino Sheriff's Department.

A local CBS reporter Carter Evans was describing the situation by cell phone when the broke out. Listen.


CARTER EVANS, CBS REPORTER: This is a very fluid situation. We are staying here, we don't get caught on a crossfire ourselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You, come here!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, come here.




COOPER: Again --





COOPER: Now, again, the LAPD is saying they are still in tactical alert, still giving protection to all of these people they have been protecting since this manhunt began, that despite the reports to the contrary, no body has been found and no one has gone in to the cabin because it is still to hot. With the death of the deputy today, that brings Dorner's suspected death toll to four people. Dorner is also accused of killing another police officer, the daughter of his police union representative and her fiance.

Just a short time ago, there was a third press conference with the California Fish and Wildlife spokesman. What is significant about what he says and we're going to try to play that for you shortly, is that essentially, he said first, a report went out that a vehicle had been stolen. "The L.A. Times" has reported that Dorner had actually been holed up in another cabin elsewhere and held several people, a couple of hostages for the last several days. That would explain why there's been no word of him or no information about him over the last several days since his burning vehicle was found at the end of last week.

A report went out that a vehicle had been stolen, a purple Nissan. Officials from Fish and Wildlife Service were on the lookout when they saw a white pickup truck coming their way. That pickup truck had reportedly been carjacked when the purple Nissan -- when the suspect lost control of that. Apparently carjacked another driver, carjacked this white pickup, shots were exchanged between Fish and Wildlife officials and the suspect in the white Nissan. He then fled and that's allegedly when he ended up in that cabin.

This has been a dramatic day. We will play you some of the press conference coming up. We want to give you a look at how the events unfolded today starting this afternoon.

Let's check in with our Miguel Marquez on the scene al day long.

Miguel, let's just walk through and take a step back and with what we know and what we don't know. There's a lot of conflicting information. We have been trying to make the point all evening long and for the hours we have been covering this, that often first reports are contradictory, often turn out to be wrong.

So, at this point, what do we know and what do we not know?

MARQUEZ: Well, we know there is somebody in the cabin who is deceased. We don't know whether or not that person killed themselves before police moved in or died in the flames that destroyed that cabin. We don't know exactly how that fire started in that cabin. We know the investigators or the SWAT team went in with gas. Was it that that set it of or did the person inside set off that conflagration?

We know that the person tried to make a half-hearted attempt to escape by throwing a smoke canister outside of the door at one point. Or at least we heard that from several forces. He was forced back down into the cabin and not able to get out.

San Bernardino sheriffs office is certain they have the entire area cordoned off, sealed enough that they know he did not get out of it. They had helicopters overhead. They know they were able to keep that person in that cabin and that everything that they know about Christopher Dorner's last movements or every sighting of him up until that cabin brought him all the way in to that cabin.

So it is very, very likely -- the other thing that I learned earlier, that I didn't think of much when I first learned it, is his cell phone popped on earlier today and it is possible that law enforcement was able to talk to him and at least by voice confirm that it was him, either on the run or in that cabin and try to ascertain whether he had hostages in there.

That was clearly one of the big points where everything sort of mellowed at one point during the day. Everything stopped when they weren't sure whether they could go in to that cabin and take him out, because they weren't sure if there were hostages. At one point they realized there were not and they went in and we are where we are right now, Anderson.

COOPER: Right. And, again, we don't know a lot of the details of the time line on tear gas being fired, whether they actually did physically go in or whether once that building caught fire, whether they just waited outside. We're waiting to get the operational details on that, how much communication --


COOPER: -- if any, was there between the suspect and the authorities.

The other thing that, Miguel, I'm curious about. There's been a lot made about the cooperation and publicly, officials, law enforcement officials have been talking about the cooperation between state, federal and local officials in all of this. But, earlier tonight, the LAPD gave a press conference saying they had resources standing by, waiting at the airport, waiting to be called in by the San Bernardino sheriffs department. We never got word whether those resources -- by resources I assume they mean SWAT team members and the like.

The LAPD has been making a big point that this was a San Bernardino Sheriff's Department operation. Do you know what the cooperation was? Is there tension about this?

MARQUEZ: This is -- this gets in to a difficult situation with the different agencies that were involved here. There was a lot of competition between the agencies here. It is not entirely clear that San Bernardino was open to other agencies whether it federal, local or counties coming in to San Bernardino to assist them.

I mean, keep in mind, San Bernardino scaled back the level of their search throughout the past week thinking that Dorner may have left the area. There were several agencies that offered San Bernardino a lot of resources along the way, which San Bernardino said, nope, we're covered, no problem.

I think the perception among a lot of law enforcement here is one of frustration to some degree. When Thursday happened, the truck was up here with the broken axle and Dorner set it on fire, the thinking was flood the zone. Check every house, check everything. Sit on this area. This is the only place he can be. He must be here.

It also snowed heavily that night. So, escaping would have been very difficult in that sort of snow. There were no reports of stolen cars as far as we know in that first day or two. So, there is not many ways off the mountain once you are up there. Either you have to go farther in to the mountain or get off of it somehow.

Now we get to a point where San Bernardino is having to pull back its searching throughout the day. They said they searched 600 empty cabins, but they were focusing on empty cabins and perhaps not able to focus all of the cabins out there and if it is the case as "The L.A. Times" reporting that these individuals were tied up for several days, that may be what Dorner realizes that they would search empty cabins and not focus on those who had people in them -- Anderson.

COOPER: It has been a difficult day for San Bernardino Sheriff's Department. They have lost one officer and another officer shot. We're told the officer underwent surgery and is going to be OK, according to officials. But again, they lost one officer and they have not named him yet that's why we are not giving out the name.

Just a short time ago, there was a press conference that I mentioned with the California Fish and Wildlife spokesman. Here's what he said just moments ago. It's really fascinating.


LT. PATRICK FOY, CALIFORNIA FISH & WILDLIFE: I want you to recognize the heart-felt loss we have experienced with one of our law enforcement brethren with the San Bernardino County sheriff's office. Our hearts go out to the families of those officers, the officer who was killed and the officer who was wounded. It's been a very sad day in law enforcement.

But I want to answer the questions, I can bring you up from the first contact to when we last lost contact with our suspect.

OK. So basically, I want to try to fill in some gaps. Basically what happened was the suspect was driving the purple Nissan. There was call out for the Nissan. One of our wardens was driving -- actually, there were two wardens driving and one patrol truck. They were driving down Highway 32, and they were approaching two buses. They passed the two buses and they noticed tucked in behind the bus was the suspect vehicle. They immediately attempted to do a U-turn, but because of the road being narrow and they couldn't get on top of them.

So, they put the radio call out that they were engaged in a pursuit of the suspect vehicle. The suspect quickly realized he had been identified. He passed the two school buses. By the time our wardens got up, he was in front of the two school buses. He then turned on to Glass Road.

Our warden, the initial wardens -- the two wardens in the one vehicle who found him didn't realize he turned on that Glass Road and they continued on in front of the school buses. Of course they put out on the radio what was going on.

Three additional wardens in two vehicles, so two were paired up and one by himself, continued on. They ended up turning on to Glass Road. They were expecting to find the Rav -- I'm sorry, it is not a Rav. They were expecting to find the purple Nissan. They were looking, in fact, for this purple Nissan.

The warden in the front by himself and two behind that were doubled up in their patrol vehicle. The warden who was in front noticed the white truck coming down, driving erratically at a pretty high rate of speed.

Because he was drawn to this erratic behavior, he took a close look at the driver and recognized him as the suspect. Before he even had a chance to put it out over the radio, of course they are now driving in opposite directions again. So he already passed the suspect vehicle. The suspect rolled his window down and when the second patrol truck came up with the two wardens inside, that's when he engaged in the shooting with our wardens, as they were driving. He did hit the truck multiple times. The wardens stopped their vehicle.

Thank you. I'm going to go ahead and take a drink.

The wardens stopped their vehicle. That's helpful.

And at that point, where they did engage the suspect the second time he shot at our wardens. They stopped the vehicle. As he continued around the bend in the curve, the warden had his patrol rifle, he went to a location where he could engage the suspect and fired multiple rounds at the suspect as he was driving away. It is unknown whether or not he was hit or how many times the truck was hit. That's up in the air at this point.

That's basically where fish and game -- or Fish and Wildlife wardens lost contact with the suspect. Of course, the radio call had gone out and now the world is coming to help.

REPORTER: Is it your understanding there were two vehicles the suspect was in, the purple vehicle and the white pickup truck?

FOY: The question is whether the suspect was in two vehicles, the first was the purple Nissan, which he ultimately appeared to be driving too fast, lost control of the vehicle, crashed it. Carjacked the white pickup and fleeing the scene which is when our warden noticed him.

REPORTER: When the original call came out with the purple Nissan, did you or your wardens hear that this 911 call came from two women who may have been held hostage and they own that purple Nissan and one woman escaped and was able to call for help and that's how you guys got the original BOLO?

FOY: That's -- I'm afraid I don't know the source of BOLO, I only know was that when the BOLO came out, everybody was looking for the purple Nissan and that's when they noticed the suspect as he was driving away.

REPORTER: Any idea who owned that purple Nissan? Was there any inclination that this came from somebody who was carjacked, came from a 911 call, the source of the purple Nissan?

FOY: That I don't know the answer to.


FOY: Quite a few. I don't have the exact number but he did engage with quite a few rounds. Probably -- more than 12, more than a dozen, more than 15, right around that area.

REPORTER: Did the suspect fire back? (INAUDIBLE)

FOY: When he did engage the second vehicle that he passed he held a pistol out the window and fired multiple shots and he hit the truck multiple shots.

Somebody has asked for my name again.


COOPER: I want to bring in CNN contributor, former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes, who joins us on the phone.

Tom, I'm wondering what, (a), the latest that you're hearing on any new details, and also what you make of this discrepancy between what LAPD and San Bernardino officials are saying, and what CNN and other news groups have reported based on multiple about whether or not Christopher Dorner is inside of that cabin, whether his body has been seen, whether or not it has been actually removed?

TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (via telephone): Anderson, I'm not sure why the discrepancy and why LAPD is saying one thing it appears to contradict, a little bit what the sheriffs office is saying, but, you know, I'm going to go by action rather than words.

And the actions are that they have called off that search. There's no -- you don't see hundreds of officers and agents pouring in the area to resume a manhunt in the mountains, to resume door-to door searches of every house in the area that could potentially have been home-invaded by him where he is holding people hostage or attempting to steal another car. They called off the check points, as Miguel pointed out.

So, if he did get to another family and steal their car, you know, they are going to give him a wide-open roadway to drive away and be off and free. So, the fact they have called off the major search, they are not looking for a fugitive on the mountain top, that they are not looking door to door to see if home invasions have occurred, they're not looking for another vehicle or checking vehicles coming and going anymore from that area tells me that department must be 100 percent sure that his body is in that cabin and he's no longer free to roam around and terrorize anybody.

Now, having said that, I think then we question the scaled back dramatically the searches door to door. We know they were originally searching empty cabins. We would have expected that that search would have included every possible home, including residential homes to look for any possible family that could have been held hostage and now it turns out in the aftermath of having scaled back that search, he was holding people hostage.

So, you would think the sheriff's office wouldn't want to make a similar mistake and scale back too soon with the possible he would take another family hostage and kill more people. So, everything has been scaled back and called off. Frankly, I don't care what they say I care what they are doing and what they are not doing is searching for a fugitive Dorner at this moment.

COOPER: The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department did come out and say earlier, just a few moments ago, they do believe there is a suspect inside of that house, the house that burned down to the ground. Therefore, the suspect is dead. The body is still inside there.

Whether or not they say it is too hot to actually go in, nothing has actually been removed yet from that structure.

But as you say, all indications on the ground are based on the scaling down of the operation, the opening of the roadways, the fact the road blocks do not exist any longer and in areas where there were dozens or hundreds of police officers there are none in the area that Miguel Marquez is standing by and it certainly seems they have deescalated this and believe the threat, such as it was is over.

Tom, appreciate your reporting on this.

I want to bring in "Los Angeles Times" reporter Joel Rubin, who joins us by phone.

Joel, I'm just curious about what do you make of this apparent discrepancy between "The L.A. Times," CNN and others have been reporting that Christopher Dorner's body had been recovered at least a body from that cabin and announcement from the LAPD and the announcement from the LAPD and the sheriff's department that no body has yet been recovered?

JOEL RUBIN, LOS ANGELES TIMES (via telephone): It's a mystery for sure. It is a very unusual situation that I, at least, in five years of covering the LAPD have not found myself in. We can speculate that it might have something to do with them wanting to be 110 percent sure they know what they are talking about and getting a little frustrated that they have some leaks coming out of the scene, or at least authorities on the scene talking to news agencies before they want to, especially in situations like this.

The departments try -- usually futilely to put wraps on things until they go publicly and that might be what we are seeing here.

COOPER: You would certainly that, just logically, if authorities thought there was any chance that Dorner survived or escaped that -- you would think they would be explicit about that to give a warning to people that live in the area because this property that the suspect was on is about 10 acres in size, according to family that owns it. But there are other houses off in the relatively close area.

RUBIN: Yes. Most definitely. Your previous guest, I think, really summarized reading the tea leaves very well. I think you would see a very different scenario and scene right now if there was concern that he had somehow managed to get through the dragnet that they had put around the location. As you said, we are now starting to hear San Bernardino folks say we don't know for sure it's him.

We think that the body, the person, whoever it is, was in there when the building was engulfed in flames.

COOPER: I read "L.A. Times" reporting earlier in the day. You guys had information about basically that Dorner had been in another cabin and allegedly holding a couple hostage. What have you learned?

RUBIN: Well, we will be coming out -- we are still scrambling to put all of the details together. But what we can tell you is they were made, who were in the cabin to clean the cabin and walked in and found Dorner in there. He took them hostage and we're still unclear on the time line how long they were in there.

COOPER: This is a different cabin than the one the suspect ended up in.

RUBIN: Correct. It was a different cabin. He took them hostage, took their car. It's the purple Toyota o Nissan that the Fish and Wildlife representative referenced. Took that car and then proceeded to be spotted by the Fish and Wildlife officers. He ditched that car and then carjacked another white pickup truck and then was cornered and crashed that and ran in to the second cabin where this all has unfolded.

COOPER: OK. So this is starting to make sense, because there have been -- it's only recently that we realized there was this first vehicle, this Nissan, purple Nissan, that was stolen apparently from the first cabin that he had been in. But then we had gotten a report and heard a local news interview with a friend of the person who was carjacked in the pickup truck that said the suspect emerged from the woods with a weapon and carjacked his white pickup truck.

So, that would make sense. I didn't understand that he had stolen one vehicle from the cabin, why is he now carjacking a white pickup truck emerging from the woods. But the fact he allegedly lost control of the first purple Nissan, that would make sense as to why he would have to carjack another vehicle.

RUBIN: Right. I was listening to the fish and wildlife press conference on the air with you. I was a little confused myself. I don't know if he crashed the purple car and then carjacked the white vehicle or maybe, and this is just speculation, and maybe thought he could make a getaway if he switched cars. Who knows? Again, part of the puzzle of a crazy day we are trying to put together.

COOPER: Yes, that's the first detail I have heard from you on that it was housekeepers who walked in on this cabin. That's an interesting detail.

Look more for details in "The L.A. Times". Appreciate you joining us. I know it has been a busy day and will be a business nigh night for you.

Also now, joining me on the phone is Kyle Martin whose family owns the cabin where it went down. The cabin burned to the ground.

Kyle, I appreciate you being with us and sorry for all your family has been through and watching your family's home essentially go up in flames. Has your family heard from law enforcement about what happened aft the cabin, or are you still getting any information from them?

KYLE MARTIN, CABIN OWNER (via telephone): Yes. I know -- I talked to my mother but as far as the information told to her I don't know, I don't think much.

COOPER: Police say the scene is too hot from the fire for them to go in and see if Dorner's body is in there. Give us a sense of how big the cabin is, how much space the officers and firefighters would have to search through? I know you told me there is a fairly large basement, big enough to stand up in. There also was an attic space.

Can you just describe the cabin for us?

MARTIN: Yes. The cabin itself is about 180 square feet. And it does have a pretty good size basement, about 800 square feet. You can stand up in and everything. The attic itself is pretty small. You have to crawl in it. It is a crawl space area.

But other than that, the property is on 10 acres with six other cabins on the property.

COOPER: And, Kyle, your family had given significant information to law enforcement early on once I believe it was your mom was watching TV saw this cabin of hers on the television and I believe either you or somebody else contacted law enforcement. But you were able to tell law enforcement that there was no Internet service, no television service, all of which was significant because there have been a concern that anybody inside that cabin who did have access to television might be able to watch any sort of operational details unfold if cameras were capturing that up close.

MARTIN: Yes. As far as I knew, there was no Internet connection or permanent resident up there anymore, and my mom was able to know there shouldn't be anyone in the other cabins. None were rented out.

COOPER: That it was crucial information because there had been great concern that Dorner who apparently picked the cabin by happenstance because that's where he happened to be close to the shootout with fish and game service, that had there been hostages or potential hostages, people in the cabins when he got there that would change the a way the tactical teams could pursue this, could deal with this, that would certainly change the timeline of any potential going in to this or negotiation. So, that information was critical to them.

Kyle, appreciate talking to you, as I have talked to you throughout the day. And again I'm sorry for all your family has been going through and I know you said before your thoughts and prayers are with the officer wounded from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and also the family of the officer who lost his life. Thank you, Kyle.

We're going to have more on this breaking news. We're going to play you more from the gun battle presumably between Dorner and law enforcement officers. We'll also get the latest from the scene. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In all the drama today, we don't want to forget that the real story here is four lives lost and four families' lives have been forever changed.

The name of the deputy who is killed in the gun fight today has not been released but do know the name of Dorner's other three alleged victims, Monica Quan, the daughter of Dorner's police union representative. She and his fiance, Keith Lawrence, were killed. Also Riverside police officer Michael Crain. We remember them and their families and their friends tonight.

It has been a dramatic day. So, now we just want to give you a look at how all the events unfolded starting this afternoon when after days of silence the manhunt for this alleged killer suddenly took a heart-stopping turn. Something that could have come out of a movie script. Randi Kaye reports.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Twelve twenty-two p.m. at California's Big Bear Mountain. San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies on the hunt for Christopher Dorner when suddenly a major break in the case. A call from a couple who had been tied up at their cabin reporting a stolen vehicle.

COMMANDER ANDREW SMITH, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: They received a call of a stolen vehicle in the 1200 block of Club View Drive. When they responded there they received information from the person reporting that the stolen vehicle was stolen by an individual that appeared to be very similar to Christopher Dorner.

KAYE: Law enforcement immediately sets up a road block. A search begins from the air. At 12:45, a California fish and game officer recognizes a man fitting Dorner's description in a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction on highway 38 and glass road.

The man attempts to flee. Hundreds of rounds of gun fire are exchanged. Reporter Carter Evans from "KCAL TV" is caught in the middle of the gun fire during a live report for his station.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that someone yelling in the background, Carter?

CARTER EVANS, KCAL-TV REPORTER: Yes. We got authorities yelling at us to get out of here, but we don't know where to go. I hear some screaming. You heard all that gun fire.

KAYE: The suspect escapes into the forest, holing himself up inside this cabin. Two sheriff's deputies chasing him are shot. The "L.A. Times" reports one is shot from inside the cabin. The other is shot behind the cabin moments before a smoke bomb is set off.

Both are airlifted to Loma Linda Medical Center. One deputy is taken to surgery, the other pronounced dead. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately, one of the deputies, who was airlifted to the Loma Linda Medical Center, we are told by the "L.A. Times" has died.

KAYE: By 1:00 p.m., law enforcement has the cabin surrounded. It is about 40 miles from where Dorner's burned out truck was found on Big Bear Mountain. Police break windows, pump in tear gas and urge the suspect to give up.

JAY OBERNOLTE, MAYOR OF BIG BEAR LAKE, CALIFORNIA: I think this is the break that we have all been waiting for to get him out in the open and flushed out and no longer in hiding. And my personal opinion is, now it is only a matter of time.

KAYE: The standoff continues. No response from the man in the cabin. SWAT teams are on high alert. Guns drawn. Ready to wait out the man, they believe is Christopher Dorner, the man they have been searching for a week now. Then the "L.A. Times" reports a vehicle is brought in to rip down the walls of the cabin.

WILLIAM BRATTON, FORMER LOST ANGELES POLICE CHIEF: He is going to be (INAUDIBLE). He is now the hunted. And they have (INAUDIBLE).

KAYE: Around 4:30 p.m., smoke starts to come from the cabin, then flames.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see the images as we are seeing them live. Clearly a large fire in this cabin.

KAYE: A source tells CNN the cabin caught fire after police detonated smoke devices inside.

SMITH: The cabin is too hot for anybody to make entry. There has been no body located in the cabin. That cabin has not yet been searched because the fire is still too hot. Any reports of a body being found are not true.


COOPER: Should point out San Bernardino officials came out in a press conference later saying they do believe the suspect is in that cabin. That the suspect's body is in that cabin. They have just not retrieved it at this point.

Randi Kaye joins me now live from the LAPD headquarters. Randi you've got some more information from the captain?

KAYE: Yes. I pulled him aside, Anderson just after that press conference just to try and clear up for our viewers, for ourselves was there a body or wasn't there a body that was removed. He said that he was on the phone with somebody who was standing just a few feet away from that cabin.

He said there were still embers burning. There were still a little bit of flame. It was so hot that is no way anybody would have gone inside. He said they were hoping to get in there tonight but they didn't even know if it would be cool enough to do that.

They may have to wait until daylight in the morning to do it. He also said that even if they did get in there tonight, Anderson, it would take hours because they would have to photograph the scene. They would have to take pictures of everything that was in there before they even remove the body, he said.

So, there is absolutely no way that that body would have been removed tonight and certainly not identified tonight. He said that will take weeks.

COOPER: All right. Randi, stick around. I want to bring in Miguel Marquez near the scene outside Big Bear. Also former LAPD psychologist, Kris Mohandie, in Los Angeles. On the phone we have former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes and "L.A. Times" reporter, Joel Rubin.

Miguel from your vantage point on the ground and as we are now talking now with Joel Rubin from the "L.A. Times" and also with Tom Fuentes, I mean, all indications on the ground are that officials - there are law enforcement officials there believe that the threat from the suspect has been neutralized, correct?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the clearest indication that we have, Anderson, is that three hours ago, two hours ago, there were dozens of police officers on this road blocking this off. They have opened it up now. You can get up to almost all the way to the area where the cabin is still smoldering.

Every indication we have is that this is over. If it wasn't, San Bernardino Sheriff's Office, I'm sure, would still be going house to house searching for Mr. Dorner. They are not doing any of that.

The search is effectively over. The road blocks are down. This is done.

They are going to perhaps wait until the morning to bring the body out but it seems very clear to me and the reporting that we've done today that they knew who exactly was in that house, whether it was from the eyewitnesses who saw him, those sheriff's deputies and the fish and game wardens who saw him, and others who saw him go into that house. Or whether or not they got voice recognition and some sort of voice data from him when they -- when his cell phone popped on today and they were able to talk to him and confirm that he was in fact in that house or on the run. Every indication we have is that he is dead.

He is in that house. And now it is just a matter of formalizing it. Anderson?

COOPER: Kris Mohandie, LAPD psychologist. Kris, I mean, you had hoped and you and I have been talking the last several days and you had expressed your public hope that he would give himself up.

Given what you knew about - I mean, from the reading of his so- called manifesto from his writings, did you believe he would, or did you think it would end in some sort of configuration like this?

KRIS MOHANDIE, FORMER LAPD PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I had always hoped that he would hear that message and realize you can always regroup and change your mind, but it did not look like it was going to be a good outcome for him. It looked like he had foretold his own outcome which was to not be taken alive and to hurt as many people as he could before that happens.

COOPER: What was your sense of how well planned out this was, Kris? I mean, clearly there had been some level of planning. I mean, there were several years frankly from the time he was kicked off the force to these violent outbursts, these alleged killings that he is a suspect in.

He certainly had time to write this so-called manifesto to reach out to various people and news agencies, myself included, to track the daughter of LAPD official whom he's accused of killing and her fiance.

So, how much planning do you think went into this? Though obviously in the last final hours the plan, whatever it was, kind of fell apart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We heard it but...

COOPER: I agree. I think that there was a lot of planning that went into the fantasies about getting revenge, about his reasoning, about who his targets would be. But at the end of the day, there was a lot of posturing and it all did fall apart, as he felt the great resources of law enforcement coming to bear upon him. He was on the run and he was stressed and he was making mistakes. And he was not as well thought out as he presented himself in a lot of respects. Thankfully so, he felt the heat and he started to panic. He got desperate. He made mistakes. And law enforcement did a good job of turning the heat up on him so all those things could occur.

COOPER: Joel Rubin, from the "L.A. Times." There is still obviously a lot of questions everybody would like answered. What are the main ones you would like answered beyond an absolute identification of the man whose body is believed to be in the ruins of that house? But what are sort of the biggest holes in the narrative that we know?

JOEL RUBIN, STAFF WRITER, L.A. TIMES: Well, yes. Obviously, as you said, the I.D. would be a big one. But really there's a lot of questions of -- well, going way back. There are questions of where he's been and what he's been doing since about 2011 when he exhausted all of his appeals to having been fired from the LAPD.

I would love to know what has he been doing and stewing over and what was it that led to him suddenly deciding to put into action this twisted manifesto that police attribute to him. We have seen that he was formally removed or discharged from the Navy just a few days before the killings in Irvine which he is alleged to have committed and I'm curious whether that had something to do with it or something else and then fast forward to the last several days how he managed to avoid being taken or being seen with every law enforcement agency in Southern California looking for him over the past few days. How he was able to keep such a low profile and not be seen is a big question for us, too.

COOPER: Joel, you talked before about some of the details that you and the "L.A. Times" were learning about him being in another cabin and he was surprised by housekeepers who he then held hostage.

Do you know how long he was in that previous cabin for? I mean the day his vehicle was found burning, do we know his whereabouts that evening, where he spent that night? Was it in that cabin? Do we know?

RUBIN: We don't. We are still putting the pieces together. We have got folks trying to put the timeline, that timeline or that particular piece of the timeline together. We don't know if it was that day when the truck was abandoned.

And I would have to assume and I think we can safely assume that if two maids were missing for several days that somebody would know about it and start sounding alarm bells. So, I'm just guessing here but I would have to assume that that period of time is relatively short. Maybe today, yesterday. Who knows?

COOPER: Tom Fuentes, former assistant director of the FBI.

Tom, what questions would you like answered (INAUDIBLE)?

TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: I think the main one would be that why is the search scaled back to such an extent several days ago and now turns up he is holding hostages in the very area of the mountain. You know, that's pretty serious decision to scale back and stop searching and make an assumption that he had left the area and he possibly left the country. And in the meantime he is right under their nose and holding family or at least people hostage.

And you know, they'd better be searching pretty soon the rest of the homes around there. They could still find a dead family or two on that mountain. Possible he got into somebody else's home and maybe went home to home.

He's been in that area ever since the truck was burned last week. There are a lot of questions and I would have a lot of concerns that every resident in that area can be verified to be safe.

COOPER: Miguel Marquez is with us still.

Miguel, is there any evidence, any suggestion that he may have had help? He may have had accomplice, large or small in any way in the last couple of days?

MARQUEZ: He had friends. And friends that he communicated with quite a bit in the days leading up to this, in the week leading up to this. There is one friend in particular, 600 phone calls - 600 phone calls went between them in the last two weeks before the deadly spree began. But investigators say they cleared everybody. They talked to them. They wanted to know their relationship with him. Were they accomplices? Did they help him in any way and there wasn't one individual that they seemed to think helped him in any way.

And there wasn't one individual that they seem to think helped him at any way. So, at the moment, it doesn't appear that he had any that he asked for any help or that anybody crossed any line and assisted him in any way or knew that he was going to carry this thing out. So it does not appear that he had accomplices.

He had some supports out there. And as you know, on Facebook and on Twitter and other places, there has been support for him. LAPD has a checkered past. They are the first to admit it. They were hoping to get beyond many of the problems they had with regard to race and this brought up a lot of that ugly history of LAPD and I think that he found some sustenance, that Mr. Dorner found some sustenance in that and was able to sort of in his self righteous mind it made sense to him and he was able to cling on to that and feel that he was right, even more right than he already felt he was, Anderson.

COOPER: Joel Rubin, I know the "L.A. Times" who gave us this piece of information earlier this hour, that it was two maids who stumbled upon Dorner in one of these cabins, not the cabin where he ended up, and that they were taken hostage.

Do you have any more information about how long they were held for? Were they harmed in any way? Was it one of their vehicles that was stolen, the purple Nissan, was that one of their vehicles?

RUBIN: That's our understanding but everything is really a jigsaw puzzle right now. And just to give you a sense of how quickly things are changing I'm sitting at my desk (INAUDIBLE) my computer, and an e-mail just came in from somebody claiming to know the two women who were in the building, who were taken hostage.

And as soon as I get off with you I'm going to call them and see what they actually do know. But yes it's just -- we don't know all of the details. We don't know how long they were in there. We don't know what their relationship was to the apartment. We're still trying to put it all together.

COOPER: Joel, I will let you go and make the call. I appreciate you being...


RUBIN: I appreciate it.

COOPER: Thanks very much, Joel.

Randi, LAPD, they still say they are on alert (INAUDIBLE) meaning they still offered protection to potential targets of this man until they get official word and that official word, I'm assume willing come from the San Bernardino's Sheriff's Department because the LAPD continues to say this is their operation. They are the ones responsible for this scene up by this cabin. They are the ones who this information will come through.

KAYE: Right. Captain Andrew Smith out here earlier just beside me saying that they are taking the lead on this. The San Bernardino County will be taking the lead on this. But it's interesting we are getting a different message, Anderson, that it sounds like we're getting from San Bernardino County in terms of what Miguel was reporting that they are shutting down operations up there in a sense. Because here, the captain said they are doing absolutely nothing like that.

In fact, they still have patrols out. They are still looking for the man named Christopher Dorner. They still have 50 families protected under police protection here. So they haven't given up.

He said until they identify that body inside that cabin as Christopher Dorner or Christopher Dorner is sitting in handcuffs in jail they are not going to stop looking for him and they are not going to stop protecting these families.

As we talked about just the other night, Anderson, there is that one police captain with a wife and six children who haven't left his house since this manhunt began. So, until it is -- until that body is identified for sure, they are not going anywhere.

COOPER: Randi, appreciate your reporting. Miguel Marques, Kris Mohandie, Tom Fuentes, and Joel Rubin from the "L.A. Times" is already off to make those calls.

Much more ahead from Big Bear, California.

For Christopher Dorner the path to that cabin -- it was paved with rage of losing his job with the LAPD.

We're going to dig deeper on why he was fired years ago. And later you're going to hear from a friend of Dorner's who met him before he became a police officer, classmates in college back when their futures - well, their futures lay ahead of them.


Breaking news tonight. The manhunt for Christopher Dorner culminating in a burning cabin outside Big Bear, California. There's no official confirmation that Dorner died in that fire. The LAPD is saying the cabin is too hot for anyone to go in and search.

We want to look though at the Genesis of this entire scenario right now. The allegations that Dorner originally made -- what was behind his anger at the L.A. Police Department. It's a story that began nearly six years ago when Dorner himself was an officer with the LAPD.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The subject of Christopher Dorner's rage goes back to an incident in July of 2007. Dorner was out on patrol with a female officer, a veteran of the force, when they were dispatched to check out a report of a mentally unstable man named Christopher Gettler.

Gettler was refusing to leave the grounds of a hotel and after a struggle Dorner and his partner subdued him. Then Dorner says his partner, who is white unnecessarily kicked Gettler who was also white twice in the chest and once in the face while he was being cuffed. In the manifesto Dorner writes, "The kick to the face left a visible injury on the left cheek below the eye. Unfortunately after reporting it to supervisors and investigated nothing was done. I had broken their supposed Blue Line."

The blue line he spoke of is a legendary unspoken code of conduct among police that states you never rat out a fellow officer. The LAPD did launch an internal investigation into Dorner's complaint but found, "The alleged kicks had not occurred." Dorner writes, "The department stated that I had lied and made up the report."

Dorner was charged with making false statements and the LAPD Board of Rights found him guilty. But according to Dorner this was a result of corruption and retaliation on the part of the LAPD. "Terminating me for telling the truth of a Caucasian officer kicking a mentally ill man is disgusting," Dorner writes. "With the discovery and evidence available you will see the truth."

The evidence Dorner points to is the testimony of Gettler himself. Court documents show he told the LAPD he was kicked by a female police officer. Gettler's father also testified that his son told him about the attack. NBC 4 Los Angeles spoke exclusively with Gettler's father who says he remembers that night in 2007 when his son came home and told him he was kicked.

RICHARD GETTLER, FATHER OF CHRISTOPHER GETTLER: Two in the chest. The third one missed and got him on the face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "This is my last resort," Dorner writes. "The LAPD has suppressed the truth and it has now lead to deadly consequences."

But did the LAPD really suppress the truth? Court documents show the testimony of both Gettler and his father was heard by the Board of Rights, who said, "While the Board acknowledged that the testimony of Gettler and his father indicated a kicking had occurred, Gettler is schizophrenic. The Board did not find him to be a reliable witness and his father's testimony was hearsay."

The Board also found that the officer he accused of abuse was considering giving Dorner a negative review and that he falsely alleged the kicks in order to stop working with her. Dorner challenged his firing in the Court of Appeals but lost.

But this incident is not Dorner's only problem with the LAPD. He also accuses officers of rampant racism saying they used racial slurs on the job. He writes, "The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days. It has gotten worse."

In his manifesto he promises, "Terminating officers because they expose a culture of lying, racism and excessive use of force will immediately change. The blue line will forever severed and a cultural change will be implanted. You have awoken a sleeping giant."


COOPER: Well, the LAPD said they will reinvestigate the original allegations that Dorner had made but with him dead we may never know why or when he decided to finally vent his rage in this way.

Joining me on the phone is James Usera. He met Dorner before he became a police officer, before his troubles began. They were classmate at Southern Utah University.

James, what is your reaction to what transpired over the last few hours?

JAMES USERA, FORMER CLASSMATE OF CHRISTOPHER DORNER: Well, it is an indescribable sensation being live on the phone with a television program hearing that your friend just either committed suicide or was burned up in a building. And so, it is -- I'm not being cavalier about it. It is indescribable.

This sort of emotional roller coaster I have been through the past few days and trying to come to terms with everything that's going on.

COOPER: Yes. Obviously the person that you felt you knew is very different than the person that the American public has come to hear about over the last couple of days. I know you have done this a lot. But just describe the person you knew, the friend that you remember from your days in school together.

USERA: Sure. Chris was the - Chris was a guy who was approachable. Had a great sense of humor. Fun to be around. Intelligent. Good conversationalist. The kind of guy that I think most people would want to hang out with and want to spend time with.

Needless to say learning about what's going on over the past couple is pretty shocking, but you know - yes. I mean, again he was just -- he was really, in my experience, a pretty terrific individual for whom I have a great deal of respect.

COOPER: I'm wondering if you read the so-called manifesto. If you did, if you heard his voice - if you heard the voice of the person you knew in there somewhere?

USERA: You know, I have not read it. I have seen bits and pieces that have been reported on the media but I haven't read the whole thing to be able to really comment on it one way or the other.

COOPER: Is this how you thought it would end? I'm (ph) assuming it is over, is this how you thought it would end?

USERA: Yes. Assuming it is over, you know, I'd tell you, one of the things about Chris Dorner that I always respected was that he was a person of conviction and when he made up his mind about something, right or wrong, or otherwise he made up his mind and you weren't going to convince him otherwise. So, I do generally respect that trait but I think it maybe one of the things that brought about his demise in this case.

I don't think there was once he got going on this - frankly this mission of vengeance that was on, just based on his personality type, you know, the way I knew him, there was not going to be any good end to it.

COOPER: James, I know it has been a long day for you and long many days for you. Appreciate you being with us tonight. Thank you very much.

USERA: Yes. My pleasure. Take care.

COOPER: We'll be right back.