Authorities Confident Christopher Dorner Search Over, Body Will Need To Be ID'd (With CBS News Video)
(CBS News) The sweeping manhunt for a fugitive ex-cop wanted in a deadly rampage appears to be over.
Overnight, sheriff's deputies said charred remains were found inside a burned-out cabin near Big Bear Lake, Calif., east of Los Angeles. It's not yet confirmed if the remains are those of Christopher Dorner.
The cabin went up in flames after an intense shootout. Only CBS News captured the gunfight while it was happening. CBS News correspondent Carter Evans was in the middle of it all.
Early Tuesday, two cleaning ladies at a condominium in Big Bear discovered a man they say looked like Dorner. He took them hostage, tied them up and tried to escape, stealing a pair of vehicles along the way. Now law enforcement officials are confident they got the right man.
Acting on reports of a carjacking, law enforcement officials quickly tracked the man accused of targeting police officers and their families.
"The suspect that stole the vehicle matched the description. He crashed the car and then took off into the forest," San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said.
As he barricaded himself in an empty cabin, the man believed to be Dorner fired a .50-caliber sniper rifle, shooting two deputies, killing one of them.
Following tactical teams, CBS News' crew was caught in the middle of a second firefight.
Asked how Evans was able to get so close to the firefight, he said he and his crew received a tip on where to find some police teams searching for Dorner and then heard the carjacking reports.
"At that point we started following those search teams, and they jumped out of their cars with their rifles drawn and started firing, and only then did we really realize what we rolled up on," Evans said.
At one point, the man believed to be Dorner tried to escape by throwing a smoke grenade at officers. Police also deployed smoke grenades, setting up a screen so the wounded could be evacuated.
The resort town of Big Bear had been the focus of the manhunt since last Thursday, when a burned-out truck belonging to Dorner was found in the area, along with weapons, survival gear and a gas mask. As the media descended on the town and SWAT teams searched door to door, police now believe Dorner was hiding in plain sight in an unoccupied condo just across the road from their command post.
On "CBS This Morning" Wednesday, CBS News senior correspondent John Miller, who once headed the Los Angeles Police Department's Major Crimes Division, reported that the cabin had apparently been empty for some time and it remained unclear whether Dorner had been hiding in it for hours or days.
The search for Dorner had gone on for several days without a confirmed sighting of the suspect. That prompted former LAPD Chief William Bratton, whose name was on a hit list included in Dorner's online manifesto, to meet Tuesday afternoon with the threat-assessment unit in the New York Police Department's Intelligence Division Tuesday afternoon, he said on "CBS This Morning" Wednesday.