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Christopher Dorner manhunt: Slain deputy ID'd

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The purple Nissan then disappeared.

MacKay was a detective who had been with the department for 15 years. Photo: The Associated Press

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Heltebrake, a ranger who takes care of a Boy Scout camp nearby, said he just had lunch and was checking the perimeter of the camp for anything out of the ordinary when he saw someone emerge from the trees, and instantly recognized Dorner as the man on the news.

Officers trying to find the fugitive quickly realized he must have turned onto a side road, but for a few minutes nobody involved in the chase knew he had changed vehicles.

That was when officers saw Heltebrake's truck, and Dorner appeared to be behind the wheel. And then the shooting started.

At one point, an officer emptied a high-powered semiautomatic rifle into the truck, but Foy said he doubts the driver was hit. "If he had been struck it would have caused so much damage immediately that he (the warden) probably would have known," he said.

Out of options after crashing the pickup, the driver made a break for a cabin and barricaded himself inside.

With the standoff under way, officers lobbed tear gas canisters into the cabin. A single shot was heard inside before the cabin was engulfed in flames, said a law enforcement official who requested anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

It wasn't known what kind of gas the officers used, but one common variety, CS gas, is carried by many officers for crowd control and is more prone to causing a fire if launched into a building, said Gregory D. Lee, a retired federal drug enforcement agent.

If the body found there proves to be Dorner's, the death toll from the rampage would be four, including a Riverside police officer.

Police said Dorner began his run on Feb. 6 after they connected the Feb. 3 slayings of a former police captain's daughter and her fiance with his angry manifesto.

Dorner blamed former LAPD Capt. Randal Quan for providing poor representation before a police disciplinary board that fired him for filing a false report. Dorner, who is black, claimed he was the subject of racism by the department and was targeted for reporting misconduct.

Chief Charlie Beck, who initially dismissed his allegations, said he would reopen the investigation into his firing - not to appease the ex-officer, but to restore confidence in the black community, which had a tense relationship with police that has improved in recent years.

LAPD Lt. Andrew Neiman said his agency had returned to normal patrol operations Wednesday but about a dozen targets Dorner threatened to go after would continue to be protected until the remains are positively identified.

"This really is not a celebration," he said.A San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy killed in a final shootout with Dorner had gone into the search happy to help his community but wary of the dangers.

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