Though they have not yet identified burned remains found at the scene of Tuesday's fiery, armed standoff, San Bernardino, Calif., officials consider the manhunt over for Christopher Dorner, the fugitive ex-cop accused of going on a killing spree.
"The events that occurred yesterday in the Big Bear area brought to close an extensive manhunt," San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon told reporters this evening.
"I cannot absolutely, positively confirm it was him," he added.
However, he noted the physical description of the suspect authorities pursued to a cabin at the standoff scene, as well as the suspect's behavior during the chase and standoff, matched Dorner, 33.
The charred remains of the body believed to be Dorner were removed from the cabin high in the San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear, Calif., the apparent site of Dorner's last stand. Cornered inside the mountain cabin Tuesday, the suspect shot at cops, killing one deputy and wounding another, before the building was consumed by flames.
"We did not intentionally burn down that cabin to get Mr. Dorner out," McMahon said tonight, though he noted pyrotechnic canisters known as "burners" were fired into the cabin during a tear gas assault in an effort to flush out Dorner. The canisters generate high temperatures, he added.
The deputies wounded in the firefight were airlifted to a nearby hospital, where one died, police said.
The deceased deputy was identified tonight as Det. Jeremiah MacKay, 35, a 15-year veteran and the father of two children -- a daughter, 7, and son, 4 months old.
"Our department is grieving from this event," McMahon said. "It is a terrible deal for all of us."
The Associated Press quoted MacKay on the Dorner dragnet Tuesday, noting that he had been on patrol since 5 a.m. Saturday.
"This one you just never know if the guy's going to pop out, or where he's going to pop out," MacKay said. "We're hoping this comes to a close without more casualties. The best thing would be for him to give up."
The wounded deputy, identified as Alex Collins, was undergoing multiple surgeries for his wounds at a hospital, McMahon said, but was expected to make a full recovery.
Before the final standoff, Dorner was apparently holed up in a snow-covered cabin in the California mountains just steps from where police had set up a command post and held press conferences during a five-day manhunt.
The manhunt for Dorner, one of the biggest in recent memory, led police to follow clues across the West and into Mexico, but it ended just miles from where Dorner's trail went cold last week.
Residents of the area were relieved today that after a week of heightened police presence and fear that Dorner was likely dead.
"I'm glad no one else can get hurt and they caught him. I'm happy they caught the bad guy," said Ashley King, a waitress in the nearby town of Angelus Oaks, Calif.
Hundreds of cops scoured the mountains near Big Bear, a resort area in Southern California, since last Thursday using bloodhounds and thermal-imaging technology mounted to helicopters, in the search for Dorner. The former police officer and Navy marksman was suspected to be the person who killed a cop and cop's daughter and issued a "manifesto" declaring he was bent on revenge and pledging to kill dozens of LAPD cops and their family members.
But it now appears that Dorner never left the area, and may have hid out in an unoccupied cabin just steps from where cops had set up a command center.