Chris Dorner Suicide: Rogue Ex-Cop Likely Shot Self in Burning Cabin

Christopher Dorner, the disgraced ex-LAPD officer who went on a revenge-fueled rampage against his former employers five years after his dismissal, died of a single gunshot to the head — clear evidence that his anti-LAPD crusade ended in suicide.

"While we're still compiling the information and putting our reports together, the information that we have right now seems to indicate that the wound that took Christopher Dorner's life was self-inflicted," said San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department Capt. Kevin Lacy at a press conference Friday.

Lacy's department lost one officer and saw the severe injury of another in the hunt for Dorner. Since his shooting spree began over a week ago, Dorner additionally claimed the life of the daughter of the retired LAPD captain who represented him at his dismissal hearings, her fiance, and a Riverside police officer ambushed during an extensive manhunt.

Two other officers were also injured by Dorner — one suffering a bullet graze, an unbelievably close call in the hunt for Dorner, a decorated U.S. Navy Reserves lieutenant and highly skilled marksman.

At the same briefing, Capt. Lacy admitted that Dorner had been hiding mere seconds away from the police command center at Big Bear Lake, where his scorched truck was found on February 7. Authorities were mystified as to his location for days, until Tuesday, when a couple returned to their cabin and found a man matching Dorner's description inside. Cops had likely approached the structure before and knocked at the door, but had not entered it.

"In hindsight, it's probably a good thing that he did not answer based on his actions before and after the event," Sheriff John McMahon said.

Fish & Game wardens responded to the sighting, resulting in a chase and shootout. When San Bernardino police officers arrived, Dorner slew one and wounded another before retreating to a nearby cabin which burnt down after being pelted with tear gas. McMahon insisted that authorities did not deliberately torch the home in order to kill Dorner. Surrounded by flames, tear gas, and exploding ammunition, it appears that Dorner committed suicide when cornered rather than attempt to fight his way out.

Also on Friday, Sgt. Travis Newport said that police had recovered a variety of high-powered gear from the places Dorner had visited, including semi-automatic handguns, military-style assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines, tear gas, a helmet, and 10 silencers. It is unclear whether Dorner's arsenal was legal, or whether he was licensed to carry said firearms.

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Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

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