One police officer was killed and another hurt in a fierce gunfight with a fugitive ex-LAPD cop who remained holed up in a cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains, law enforcement sources said.
It was not known if Christopher Dorner was hit in the dramatic battle that unfolded Tuesday afternoon in the resort area of Big Bear. Dorner, who has vowed not to be taken alive, was firing at police and using smoke grenades. Reports said hundreds of rounds were fired in the gun battle, and Dorner is believed to have smoke grenades and gas canisters in addition to guns.
"Everyone is very hopeful that this thing ends without any more bloodshed," LAPD Commander Andrew Smith said at a Tuesday evening news conference in Los Angeles, as LAPD and San Bernadino police tensely manned positions around the cabin. "The best thing for him now would be to surrender.
"There is a tremendous sense of apprehension about our officers here," Smith added.
Law enforcement stories said sometime within the last few days, Dorner broke into an cabin off Route 38, on the mountain resort area where days ago his truck was found burning. Two people were held there until Tuesday morning, when Dorner left in a white pickup believed to belong to the occupants, who he left bound inside. One managed to escape and call authorities around 12:50 p.m. local time.
Sometime later, fish and wildlife officers spotted the pickup, which they were looking for, and tried to stop it near Big Bear Lake, authorities said. The driver, believed to have been Dorner, fled on foot, exchanging gunfire, sources told Fox News. Hours later, police were believed to have Dorner cornered in another cabin, exchanging gunfire with the suspect. It was not known if he was alone in the cabin, which was quickly surrounded by San Bernardino sheriff's deputies.
A source said one deputy was hit as Dorner fired from inside the cabin and a second was injured when Dorner ran out the back, deployed a smoke bomb and opening fire again in an apparently aborted attempt to flee.
The extent of the deputies' injuries was unknown. There was initial confusion as to where a helicopter should land to evacuate the injured officers, so deputies used their own smoke bombs to give them enough cover to carry the wounded to a pickup truck that carried them to the waiting helicopter.
San Bernardino police were on the scene the county Sheriff's Department shut down Highway 38 to create a choke point, sources told Fox News. Four area schools were on lockdown.
The police also asked the media to stop tweeting events in real time and showing live aerial shots of the cabin, theorizing Dorner could be monitoring events on television. A CBS correspondent briefly found himself in the crossfire as he broadcasted from the event, before police ordered him out of the danger zone.
The shootout came after a day of searching and speculation, with authorities continuing their door-to-door search in the rural Southern California community, even as sources guessed Dorner, 33, may have made it over the border and into Mexico.
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SOURCE: FOX News