The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 13, 2013

Carjacking victim says fugitive ex-cop was calm

— BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (AP) — 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 magazines, the most wanted man in America over the last week was just a few feet away, having emerged from a grove of trees holding a large, assault-style rifle.

Teams of officers who had sought the fugitive ex-Los Angeles police officer 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 during the carjacking Tuesday afternoon.

Dorner, who wasn't lugging any gear, got into the truck and drove on. Heltebrake, with his 3-year-old Dalmatian Suni in tow, called police when he heard a volley of gunfire erupt soon after.

A short time later, the police had caught up with a man they believe was Dorner and surrounded a cabin in which he had barricaded himself and began a standoff that was broadcast around the world and ended with the man's death in the burning building.

By day's end, the man had mounted a last stand in a shootout in which he killed a sheriff's deputy and wounded another before the building erupted in flames.

A charred body was found in the basement of the burned cabin along with a wallet and personal items, including a California driver's license with the name Christopher Dorner, an official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

The coroner's office is studying the remains to positively determine the identity. It was not clear how the cabin caught fire.

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