California Resort Town Stunned After Deadly Shootout

3:34 PM, Feb 13, 2013   |    comments
(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY

ANGELUS OAKS, Calif. - Ashley King, a waitress at the Oaks restaurant here, says residents in Seven Oaks were stunned to learn that accused cop killer Christopher Dorner was hiding among them.

A 6-foot tall, 270-pound man would not be easy to hide, even in this rustic mountain resort community, King said. Seven Oaks is a small community in the San Bernardino Mountains, about 90 miles east of Los Angeles.

"We can't even imagine where he would have been," King said. "You would think someone would say, 'Who is that big guy walking up there?' "

But there had been scuttlebutt that Dorner, 33, might choose the Seven Oaks area because of the access to dirt roads and trails. "They kept talking about how that Seven Oaks is the place he would go," King said.

Police say Dorner apparently took refuge in the area last Thursday, four days after a violent rampage began that would claim four lives. The search ended Tuesday when a man stole two cars, barricaded himself in a vacant cabin and engaged in a fierce gunbattle with police before fire engulfed the cabin.

Burned human remains were found in the debris.

"We have reason to believe that it is him," sheriff's spokeswoman Cynthia Bachman said.

A wallet with a California driver's license bearing the name Christopher Dorner also was found, the Associated Press reported, citing a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation but declined to be named because of the ongoing probe.

On Wednesday, news media gathered a few miles from the site of the blaze. Residents gathered near the spot where Highway Patrol officers blocked the road to all, including news media, to talk about the incident and just check out the scene.

Tim Carroll, who has lived in the area for five years, said he was driving down the mountain Tuesday as the incident began to unfold. He said he started seeing unmarked police vehicles heading up the hill, with officers toting automatic weapons.

It had come as a surprise because to that point, Carroll said the police search for Dornan had been "invisible." Because of their unmarked cars and the threat to them, he said officers had kept a very low profile. Those days were over.

"I told my wife they have him cornered," Carroll said.

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