Candy Martin was sitting down for an episode of “Walking Dead” with her daughter when she turned on the news and saw her Big Bear-area vacation cabin surrounded by police amid reports of a shootout involving the wanted fugitive Christopher Dorner.
Her son called police to let them know she was the owner of the 85-year-old cabin, one in a cluster of seven cabins that she owns along California 38 near the community of Seven Oaks. Martin talked to police, telling them the cabins were supposed to be empty Monday and had no cable, phone or Internet service. There were also no firearms inside, she said.
“I was basically in a state of shock,” Martin said.
Authorities believe Dorner came to the cabin after tying up a couple inside a different cabin off California 38 and stole their white pickup truck Tuesday afternoon. At some point, he engaged in gunfire with California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers who spotted Dorner and attempted to stop the vehicle.
Dorner crashed the truck during the ensuing chase and allegedly exchanged gunfire with the officers as he fled into what appeared to be Martin’s cabin, where he was quickly surrounded by San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies. A source said one deputy was struck by a bullet as Dorner fired out of the cabin. A second was injured when Dorner exited the back of the cabin, deployed a smoke bomb and opened fire again in an apparent attempt to flee.
Dorner was driven back inside the cabin, the source said.
The Fish and Wildlife officers were not hurt, authorities said.
There was initial confusion as to where a helicopter should land to evacuate the injured officers, so deputies used their own smoke bombs to provide enough cover to carry the wounded to a pickup truck that took them to the waiting helicopter.
Officers from multiple agencies raced to the scene and continued to surround the cabin. Sources said it was not known if Dorner remained inside or if he fled.
Martin said her sisters spent time in the main cabin over the weekend. She said she wasn’t surprised Dorner was able to make his way inside — the old cabins “are easy to get into,” she said.
“It’s quite shocking,” she said. “I mean, it’s good and bad news. If it is him, I hope that they catch him and this whole horrible thing is put to rest. At the same time, who wants this happening on their property?”
By Kate Mather, Andrew Blankstein and Joel Rubin