SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) – Dozens of law enforcement officers were justified in using deadly force during a shootout that ended in the suicide of cop-turned-killer Christopher Dorner last year inside a burning California mountain cabin, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
A district attorney’s review of the Feb. 12, 2013, confrontation said the 37 officers, including sheriff’s deputies, police and a state game warden, acted “in response to an immediate threat of death and serious bodily injury to themselves and to members of the public.”
The conclusion by San Bernardino County prosecutors means no criminal charges will be filed against the law enforcement officers.
Dorner, who was fired by the Los Angeles Police Department in 2009, claimed he was unfairly dismissed and vowed revenge against law enforcement officers in a rambling online manifesto.
During a 10-day rampage, he killed the daughter of a former LAPD police official and her fiancé, ambushed and killed a Riverside police officer and wounded another.
Dorner then stole a truck at gunpoint in the mountains east of Los Angeles. He was tracked to the cabin where he killed a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy and seriously wounded another in a gun battle before tear gas set the cabin ablaze and Dorner shot himself in the head.
Law enforcement officers were justified in using non-lethal and lethal force, the district attorney’s report concluded, and said that Dorner was to blame.
“Members of law enforcement arrived in the area, but did not know Dorner’s location” before the confrontation, the report said.
“Dorner could have stayed hidden. Dorner could have elected to escape. Dorner could have surrendered. None of these options was in the mind of Christopher Dorner,” the report said. “Dorner was intent on maximizing the lethal carnage that he had promised in his `manifesto’.”
Dorner also had the chance to escape through the cabin windows and doors, even several minutes after the fire started, the report said.
“He chose to kill himself rather than surrender to law enforcement and face trial for his crimes,” the report concluded. “His death is not the result of the actions of the law enforcement personnel at the scene, but the result of his own actions and choice.”
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