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Renegade ex-cop Dorner died from single gunshot to head

By Dana Ford, CNN
updated 10:14 AM EST, Sat February 16, 2013
  • NEW: Former cop likely hid for days just steps from a command center
  • Authorities recover various assault weapons and tear gas
  • Initial reports suggest Dorner took his own life
  • He died Tuesday in the mountains east of Los Angeles

(CNN) -- Autopsy results on former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner show he died from a single gunshot wound to the head that was likely self-inflicted, authorities said Friday.

The renegade cop killed four people and wounded three others as part of a vendetta against his former comrades, before apparently taking his own life.

"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," Capt. Kevin Lacy, with the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department, told reporters.

Speaking at the same news conference, Sheriff John McMahon revealed that Dorner likely hid for days just steps from their command center in the Big Bear Lake area.

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Investigators began scouring the mountains for Dorner on February 7, when they found his scorched pickup. Police, sheriff's deputies and federal agents worked through a weekend blizzard, but the trail was cold for days.

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It picked up again on Tuesday, when Karen and Jim Reynolds, upon returning to their home across the street from the command center, came across a man who looked like Dorner.

The sheriff said authorities now believe that Dorner had entered the Reynolds' unlocked home, locked the door, and hid there for days.

In fact, when deputies knocked on the Reynolds' door on February 7, Dorner was likely inside, McMahon said.

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

Ex-girlfriend: Dorner was stressed out, bottled up

Also Friday, Sgt. Travis Newport said that authorities have recovered various items from the places and vehicles Dorner occupied, including assault weapons and semi-automatic handguns. They also found high-capacity magazines, tear gas, a military-style helmet and 10 silencers.

The developments came three days after a shootout, standoff and fire at a cabin in the mountains east of Los Angeles. Dorner's remains were identified through dental records.

Dorner was fired from the Los Angeles Police Department in 2009 for falsely accusing his training officer of kicking a subdued suspect. After unsuccessfully challenging his dismissal in court, police say, he launched a campaign of guerrilla warfare against the LAPD, targeting numerous officers involved in his case and their families.

Dorner was cornered and died Tuesday afternoon in the San Bernardino Mountains, about 100 miles east of the city he had once sworn to protect and serve.

The 33-year-old former Navy officer holed up in the cabin after a shootout with law enforcement that left a sheriff's deputy dead and another wounded, McMahon said.

The cabin caught fire when police shot tear gas canisters into it, McMahon told reporters this week.

Although the canisters included pyrotechnic tear gas, which generates heat, "We did not intentionally burn that cabin down," he said Friday, echoing earlier comments he's made on the case.

In a manifesto announcing his planned rampage, Dorner said nothing had changed in the LAPD since its scandals of the 1990s, the Rodney King beating and the Rampart police corruption case. Those allegations have struck a chord with some who say Dorner was seeking justice.

CNN's Matt Smith contributed to this report.

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