LOS ANGELES — He styled himself as a Rambo-like guerrilla, someone trained to outwit and outshoot the police at every turn, and while Christopher Dorner left no doubt he could be unforgivingly violent, when it came to keeping ahead of the law during his deadly rampage, he made one mistake after another.
The last one — letting one of two people he tied up get to her cellphone and call police as he made off in their purple car — tipped authorities he was coming.
The angry ex-cop, who authorities say boasted that police agencies had no chance of capturing him except on his terms, appears to have been killed Tuesday in a fierce gun battle after he wrecked two getaway cars and had to make a last stand in a mountain cabin 80 miles east of Los Angeles.
The cabin went up in flames after authorities launched pyrotechnic tear gas canisters into it, and authorities were all but certain the charred body found inside afterward was Dorner's. They are waiting for forensic tests to confirm that, but in the meantime San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said Wednesday that authorities consider the hunt over.
Personal effects, including Dorner's driver's license, were found with the body, an official briefed on the search told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.
Sheriff's deputies were not trying to burn down the cabin with Dorner inside but simply flush him out, McMahon said.
"It was not on purpose," he told reporters Wednesday. "We did not intentionally burn down that cabin to get Mr. Dorner out."
Karen and Jim Reynolds said they came face to face with Dorner around noon on the day of his downfall. The couple said that they found him in their cabin-style condominium just a stone's throw from the sheriff's command post, and believe he had been there since Friday.