Fugitive ex-L.A. cop died of gunshot to head, authorities say

LOS ANGELES — Fugitive former police Officer Christopher Dorner died of a single gunshot to the head, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department officials said Friday.

Officials said it appeared that the wound was self-inflicted but said a final determination has not been made.

"The information that we have right now seems to indicate that the wound that took Christopher Dorner's life was self-inflicted," sheriff's Capt. Kevin Lacy told reporters at a news conference.

Authorities initially were unsure whether Dorner, 33, killed himself, was struck by a deputy's bullet or died in a fire that engulfed the cabin he was in during a shootout with police, who sent tear gas canisters inside.

Officials also announced that they had found a cache of weapons, as well as powerful tear gas and high-capacity magazines, in the possession of Dorner or at sites connected with him. Officials said they recovered 10 silencers, assault weapons, a sniper rifle, a "tactical style" vest and a military helmet.

Dorner, who was fired from the Los Angeles Police Department in 2009, was killed at the end of a long standoff Tuesday with SWAT deputies at the cabin near Big Bear. He had warned in a manifesto posted on Facebook last week that he would bring "warfare" to LAPD officers and their families for his firing.

Several experts said they believe that the actions deputies took that set off the fire and ended the standoff appear to have been justified.

"I don't understand what the big deal is," said Geoffrey Alpert, a professor at the University of South Carolina who also specializes in police tactics. "This man had already shot two officers and was suspected of murdering other people. He wasn't responding in a rational manner."

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon at a Wednesday news conference adamantly denied that deputies intended to burn the cabin down. But the department on Thursday declined to answer further questions about the standoff.

Before the fire began, Dorner had been holed up in the cabin near Big Bear Lake for hours, trading gunfire with sheriff's deputies. He ignored repeated calls over a loudspeaker to surrender.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Fugitive ex-L.A. cop died of gunshot to head, authorities say 02/15/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 15, 2013 11:10pm]

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