BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. -- The manhunt for a former Los Angeles police officer suspected of going on a killing spree converged Tuesday on a mountain cabin where authorities believe he barricaded himself inside, engaged in a shootout that killed a deputy and then never emerged as the home went up in flames.
A single gunshot was heard from within, and a law enforcement official told The Associated Press late Tuesday that officials had found a charred body.
If the body of Christopher Dorner is found inside, as authorities suspect, the search for the most wanted man in America over the last week would have ended. He's believed to have killed at least four people.
Thousands of officers had been on the hunt for the former Navy reservist since police said he launched a campaign to exact revenge against the Los Angeles Police Department for his firing about five years ago. They say he threatened to bring "warfare" to officers and their families, spreading fear and setting off a search for him across the Southwest and Mexico.
"Enough is enough. It's time for you to turn yourself in. It's time to stop the bloodshed," Cmdr. Andrew Smith said Tuesday at a news conference held outside LAPD headquarters. A short time after Smith spoke, smoke began to rise from the cabin in the snow-covered woods near Big Bear Lake, a resort town about 80 miles east of Los Angeles. Flames then engulfed the building.
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"We have reason to believe that it is him," said San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cynthia Bachman, adding that she didn't know how the fire started.
There were conflicting reports about whether a body had been found inside shortly after the fire, with both the Los Angeles and San Bernardino authorities disputing the find in separate news conferences. But an official later told the AP a body had been seen in the rubble.
Until Tuesday, authorities didn't know whether Dorner was still near Big Bear Lake, where they found his burned-out pickup last week. It's believed that Dorner broke into a house near where his truck was found and tied two people up.
About midday Tuesday, fish and wildlife wardens saw a purple Nissan car that had been reported stolen and gave chase after they realized Dorner was inside, department spokesman Lt. Patrick Foy said.
Dorner rolled down his window and opened fire, Foy said. One of the wardens was able fire at the driver, who escaped on foot after crashing his truck.
After Dorner holed up in the cabin, there was a second gun battle with San Bernardino County deputies, two of whom were shot. One died and the other was undergoing surgery.